Day therapy goes virtual at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice

Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice has taken a pioneering new approach to the way it delivers its day therapy service, to support patients dealing with life-limiting conditions at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sue Ryder Nurses talking on a computer screen for virtual day therapy
Sue Ryder Nurses during a virtual day therapy session.

New and innovative ways to support our patients

Day therapy gives people the opportunity to access the care and support they need while continuing to live at home. The day therapy service provides a friendly, supportive environment that enables people to engage with others who are going through similar experiences, participate in a variety of activities and access therapies.

With day therapy patients and carers unable to visit the hospice due to coronavirus restrictions, staff on the Day Therapy Unit piloted the use of virtual day therapy. After this proved successful, with positive feedback from patients and carers, the team worked closely with volunteers and colleagues across the hospice to develop a range of interactive online sessions to help patients manage symptoms, improve their wellbeing and combat loneliness caused by social isolation.

“It's been amazing to see how quickly our day therapy patients have adapted”

Bridget Robinson, who is the Day Therapy Unit Team Lead at Manorlands Hospice, said: “After the success of our pilot, led by Occupational Therapist Sharon Witton, we had a clear vision and everyone has really pulled together to set up new and innovative ways to support our patients during this ongoing crisis.

“We’re learning as we go, but it’s been amazing to see how quickly our day therapy patients have adapted to using technology and how they have still been able to bond as a group, despite not being able to chat to each other face-to-face.”

A nurses hands on a computer screen showing massage techniques

“In this time of lockdown it was really nice to interact with other people”

Activities currently offered as part of the virtual day therapy service include specialist exercise classes led by Physiotherapists, mindfulness and relaxation sessions, peer discussion groups, hypnotherapy and complementary therapies.

A patient currently attending the virtual sessions said in a thank you card: “In this time of lockdown it was really nice to interact with other people. For people who are unable to get out it gives you something to look forward to.”

Kirsty, Complimentary Therapist, in front of a computer during a session
Kirsty, Complimentary Therapist at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, during a virtual session.

A virtual alternative

Kirsty, who is one of the Complementary Therapists at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, has been using Zoom to teach patients, their families and carers how to do relaxing hand massage at home.

She said: “Complementary therapies such as reflexology, acupressure and aromatherapy can help to reduce stress, anxiety and agitation, as well as aiding sleep and relieving aches and pains. I’m delighted that by offering a virtual alternative we are still able to provide comfort and support to patients during these stressful times.”

During the coronavirus pandemic the day therapy team has supported patients and carers across North Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven through its virtual day therapy programme, with plans to expand the service over the coming months.

Find out more information on Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice and the specialist palliative care they provide for people with life-limiting conditions, as well as ways you can help support them.