“As physiotherapists, we help people make the absolute best of their lives”

Physiotherapy is a vital part of holistic palliative care. In this blog post, Sarah Sharp, a physiotherapist at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in Gloucestershire, shares more about her role.

Photo of a physiotherapy exercise group lifting arm weights while sat in chairs at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice
Sarah (left) leads a physiotherapy exercise group at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.

"It’s a real privilege to help people do the things they want to be able to do"

We care for people with a number of conditions including cancer, neurological and respiratory conditions. When people first come to us, they may be experiencing a number of different symptoms, and these may be making some of the simple everyday things more difficult to do.

Patients tell us they want to be able to get outside more, to leave the house, or just walk to the kitchen to make a cup of tea.

Working together, we make it possible for them to be able to do these things again by making it easier and safer.

"Helping people achieve their goals"

Seeing someone’s pleasure when they have achieved their goal is a fantastic feeling. It could be something as simple as getting back outside to sit and enjoy their garden again, but that one simple thing can make such a huge difference.

One patient I recently cared for hadn’t been outside her house for nearly eight months. When we got her back outside into her front garden, she cried with happiness. It was such an achievement for her and she was so proud of herself. In fact, it was a great feeling of achievement for all of us.

When you're feeling ill, your sense of achievement and purpose can go and, as physiotherapists, we strive to give people that back again. It’s so important for our personal well-being.

Working across expert palliative care teams

I work within the Day Hospice, inpatient unit and sometimes in people’s own homes too. When a patient is first referred to us, we sit down with them, look at what they can do and ask what it is they want to be able to achieve.

Many of the patients I see experience breathlessness as a symptom and, with some simple techniques, we're able to help them manage this symptom, allowing them to go about their day-to-day lives.

Some patients are frightened they might fall; we give them advice on how they can prevent this so they feel safe to stand up out of a chair or get out of bed.

As part of the 12-week Day Hospice programme, I also run an exercise group. The group is really lighthearted and fun. We run through a series of sitting and standing exercises that everyone can join in. It shows patients that exercise can still be safe, fun and possible no matter what condition they have or whatever symptoms they’re experiencing.

We always have a real giggle and we end the session with a game of sat-down football or balloon volleyball. It has been known to get a bit competitive!

"One of the happiest places I've ever worked"

I've worked at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice for three and a half years now. The atmosphere is incredibly positive and supportive. There is a real 'can-do' feel and we all work together with our patients to help them achieve their wishes.

Many people think hospices are all about death, but we are the very opposite of that: we are all about living.

When people talk about hospices they sometimes think of them of sad places. Is this is sad place? No – it's one of the happiest places I’ve ever worked.

It’s great being part of such a wonderful team of expert and compassionate staff and amazing volunteers who make such a huge difference to our patients.

Together we all work towards the same thing – helping people make the absolute best of their lives.

Find out more about our work

Learn more about the services on offer at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.

It costs £3.6 million each year to run Leckhampton Court Hospice

All of the services offered by Sarah and the therapies team are available to patients free of charge. Your donation could help the people Sarah cares for achieve their goals again. 

Author

Sarah Sharp

Physiotherapist - Leckhampton Court Hospice

Sarah Sharp

Sarah Sharp works in the physiotherapy team at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice. She works across the Day Hospice, inpatient unit and in people's own homes.