“We use exercise to help patients feel good, motivated and give them a purpose at a difficult time in their lives”

Lois Dolman is a physiotherapist based at Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub Berkshire in Newbury. Here, she talks about the role of physiotherapy in palliative care and how she's continued to support her patients during COVID-19.

Lois Dolman, Physiotherapist
Lois Dolman, Physiotherapist at Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub Berkshire

In her role, Lois helps people with a terminal illness to live well and maintain their independence for as long as possible by focusing on mobility, posture and positioning, individual exercise programs, pacing, respiratory care, pain and neurological symptoms.

Small things making a big difference

“I think that exercise plays a massive role in helping people to feel better about themselves, no matter what stage of life they’re at. We use exercise to help our patients to feel good, motivated and give them a purpose at a difficult time in their lives.

“Even if someone feels that they can’t do anything at all, exercise will help them do more. If they are just able to walk a few steps to the bathroom for example, which they couldn’t do before, then they feel like they can achieve more and they’re not so reliant on other people. Physiotherapy helps people do little things that can make a huge difference to their lives.”

“For some patients, if we weren’t visiting them then they wouldn’t be getting any social interaction”

“Before COVID-19, patients would come to Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub Berkshire at West Berkshire Hospital for treatment, but I am currently carrying out only essential home visits wearing PPE. It is a difficult time for many of our patients who are feeling isolated.

“For some patients, if we weren’t visiting them then they wouldn’t be getting any social interaction. Loneliness is a big thing for a lot of people at the moment and so when we visit them we’re able to not only help to stay active, but also provide them with some much-needed social interaction, which in turn improves their quality of life.”

A helping hand

“The best thing about my job is helping people to achieve more than they think they can. Seeing my patients make improvements, however small, is not just encouraging for them but it’s also encouraging for me and I leave their house feeling like I’ve really helped and made them feel much happier.”

Find out more about the range of services provided across Berkshire at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice, Sue Ryder Wokingham Day HospiceSue Ryder Palliative Care Hub Berkshire, as well as ways you can help to support them.

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