Thorpe Hall Hospice’s pioneering Wellbeing Café brings patients "a sense of joy"

Staff at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice have been trialling an innovative Wellbeing Café to support patients to live as fully and actively as possible.

The Wellbeing Cafe is run by Sue Ryder Physiotherapist Margretta (left) and Occupational Therapist Vicky.
“There is a lovely atmosphere. Lots of laughter and giggles. We play music and sometimes there’s a bit of singing too!"

Physiotherapist Margretta Davies and Occupational Therapist Vicky Gibson came up with the idea to support Thorpe Hall inpatients in spending more time outside their rooms, and exploring their potential in a safe and supported environment.

The hour-long sessions see patients, their families and carers get together to enjoy refreshments, tailored educational talks and group activities to help with symptoms they may be experiencing.

100% of patients found the cafe helpful

Held in the hospice’s bright and inviting Sanctuary area, and run by Margretta and Vicky with the support of a hospice volunteer, the group sessions have been a resounding success, helping to promote wellbeing among patients.

“In the first six weeks of opening our doors to the Wellbeing Café, we had 21 patients and carers attend, with 100% of them saying they found the café helpful and would come again," says Margretta.

“Many patients have told us they have not done anything like this before and that they really enjoyed the experience.”

Tailored to patients' individual needs

Each week, the Wellbeing Café sessions are directly tailored to the needs of patients in the group.

“During the sessions, we talk to patients about how they are doing, and as conversations flow we listen and build the day’s session around what is of most importance to them," explains Margretta.

“We have helped patients and families with a range of issues, sharing tips on how to promote wellbeing through eating as well as you can, staying hydrated, optimising movement and relaxing.

"We also talk about focusing on what matters to each individual, and what brings them a sense of joy. During one session, this led to the group participants all sharing photos of their pets with one another.”

The sessions have a social side too.

“There is a lovely atmosphere," Margretta adds. "Lots of laughter and giggles. We play music and sometimes there’s a bit of singing too! Each week everyone can join in the movement for wellbeing and relaxation time. It’s been wonderful to see patients come together and form new friendships, share their experiences and help support each other.”

Getting patients ready to return home and live independently

The Wellbeing Café has also helped prepare patients for life outside the hospice too.

“Many people living with a terminal condition come into our inpatient unit to receive our specialist care to get their symptoms back under control so they can go home again," Margretta explains. "Our Wellbeing Café can help patients practise skills for home. For example, one of our patients practised making a cup of tea to help build confidence, and they ended up making teas and coffees to serve to the rest of the group too!”

The sessions are open to all patients being cared for in the hospice’s inpatient unit, their families or carers.

“If patients aren’t well enough to walk down to the café with aids or a wheelchair then we can wheel their bed down into the Sanctuary so they can join in,” adds Margretta.

Find out more about Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice and its services