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Over the last 18 months the team have gone from seeing patients face to face in group settings to offering telephone support, virtual sessions, one to ones and more recently small group sessions

We’ve also been working with our partners at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to deliver our new Ambulatory Care Service.

We caught up with Davina Radford (Spiritual Care Lead), Jennifer Saunderson (Sister, Focus on Living) and Kath Clark (Matron, Day Services) to find out more. Kath started:

“Covid-19 gave us the opportunity to look at how Focus on Living was working and what our patients really needed from the service, during that time we’ve also changed the team structure and what we offer. Davina leads the therapeutic side of things and Jen heads up the nursing side. Our specialist team also includes physios, social workers and occupational therapists.

“These new ways of working have meant we can be much more flexible and recognise that ‘one size doesn’t fit all’. Amongst other changes we’ve adapted our complementary therapy service so now the therapists often go out and give treatments at home. Some patients prefer this as it means they don’t have to travel to the Hospice and can be comfortable in their own surroundings.

Davina continued:

“The team that I lead is made up of complementary therapists, a therapeutic activities coordinator, music therapist and patient support volunteers. Our main priority is looking after the emotional wellbeing of our patients. During lockdown the patients have been through a lot so we're working with them to provide the support that they really want and need.

"Our sessions include Fatigue Management, Breathlessness, Tripudio exercise, Relaxation, music therapy and more. As well as practical advice and support we provide a very supportive environment for patients where they are at the centre of everything we do."

Jen added:

"I’t's been a pleasure to be involved with the new Ambulatory Care Service. The service sees patients with progressive, life-limiting conditions coming to us during the day for regular treatments such as infusions and transfusions, creating capacity within one of our local hospitals. This is vital support to the NHS, especially as we approach the winter months.

“The service was set up at the beginning of April and we’ve had brilliant feedback about so far. Before we started the service at St Oswald’s, this group of patients were seen in a busy hospital, and at the Hospice we are able to offer a much more comfortable and relaxing environment. Patients have told us they feel really cared for when they’re with us, which is typically for 6-8 hours. In that time, they have lunch and as well as their treatment, they’re offered a full holistic assessment, supported by our nurses and multi-disciplinary teams including our complementary therapists and physiotherapists. By coming to the Hospice for this treatment, patients also hear about all our other services they can benefit from, which they might not have known about otherwise.

"I absolutely love being part of the Focus on Living Team. We're able to go that extra mile and the positive feedback we get from patients and hearing how we make them feel good is so rewarding."

A patient said:

“Thank you all for the support I have had by phone and online ladies group. I’ve made a lot of friends through my time at St Oswald’s. We keep in contact with each other. The girls are a massive support to me. I can’t thank the staff enough for all the continued support given.”

Davina ended:

"I'm really excited about the care and support we're able to offer and the way the team and services are developing. I feel honoured to work with the team and patients and I'm looking forward to developing new things we can offer in the near future."