Wendy helps hospice patients stay on their feet and keep doing the things they love.
Wendy Loader is one of our dedicated Occupational Therapists at Leckhampton Court Hospice who help patients maintain their independence, supporting them to spend the time they have left in the way they choose. In this blog post, Wendy tells us more about her job and how she helps make a difference to the people we care for.
"As an Occupational Therapist, I look at how someone’s illness affects their everyday activities – how they get around their house, how they cook meals or look after their pets.
"If they need any additional help to maintain their independence, we work together to achieve this by providing a specific piece of equipment or learning a new way of doing a task. I love my job and seeing the difference it makes to people and their families."
Focusing on quality of life
"Many people see the role of an Occupational Therapist as being focused on discharging patients home, but my role here is very different and focused on the quality of life of our patients.
"Even if someone has only days or weeks left to live, there’s much we can do to support them to remain independent and continue to play an active role in their care. It could be something as simple as helping them to carry on getting out of bed and dressed every morning, or spending some time in a wheelchair out in the beautiful hospice grounds here."
Maintaining a sense of wellbeing and identity
"My role supports people to carry on doing what they want to be able to do. I help them maintain a sense of wellbeing and identity. It’s all about helping people get some control back over the things they can do.
"One day I could be working with a patient in our Inpatient Unit, practising techniques to help them get in and out of bed more easily; the next, I might visit a patient’s home to assess how we can make small changes to improve their quality of life when they’re back home again. A ramp at the door can enable someone to spend time in their garden or get out and about visiting friends."
A person centred approach
"I talk with patients to consider what their priorities are, and then we work together to help plan and pace activities throughout the day so they can achieve the things that are important to them. Each approach is personal to what our patients want and need, and can help to maintain normality and enjoyment in their life.
"I remember when we were caring for a gentleman who had been in our Inpatient Unit for some time. By making some minor adaptations to his home and providing support and encouragement, we helped him get back home for the afternoon to attend his child’s birthday. We only made small changes, but we helped make a big difference to him that will leave lasting memories for his family.
"We were also caring for a lady who wanted to be able to carry on being a mother for as long as possible. By working, with her family we put steps in place that meant she could carry on taking her child to school, cook their evening meal and help with their homework.
"It was really important that she was able to carry on with her role of being mum, and we helped her do this for as long as possible."
Help create more lasting memories and fulfil more wishes
"In my role, I am encouraged to do that little bit extra to provide incredible care so we can help patients fulfil their last wishes and create lasting memories. It is so crucial and can make a real difference to the wellbeing of the people I care for."
Wendy is part of the incredible care team at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice who provide specialist care that helped support over 500 local people and their families in Gloucestershire last year.
As a charity, the team can only carry on providing this expert care thanks to fundraising and financial support from the local community they are there for.
To give what you can, please visit www.sueryder.org/donate and select 'Leckhampton Court Hospice' from the dropdown list at the bottom of the donation form.