Physiotherapist Mary Tyrrell Place has recently taken up a post managing a day services centre in a hospice
My role is to break down misconceptions that people have of hospices and the words ‘palliative care’, and to use my skills as a physiotherapist to develop an enabling self-management model of care for people living with life limiting conditions.
One of my priorities is to spread the message that physical activity is for everyone.
A lot of people think a hospice is where you come for your final days whereas the reality is that a hospice supports many people and their loved ones to live well and achieve what is important to them.
When service users told me they wanted some fun physical activity sessions, I arranged the delivery of the first chair-based Zumba session at the hospice, funded by Kirkless Council. It was open to patients and carers. It attracted 13 people – men and women – wheelchair based and fully mobile, ages 35 to 89.
It was important to me that carers were included as for that 30-minute session patients and carers became husbands and wives and mothers and sons again, and shared in a fun and inclusive dance class.
Thanks to further funding by a local business, we have more weekly sessions planned which I hope will give patients and carers the confidence to access more physical activity opportunities in their local community.
I would have thought myself as quite forward thinking, but before I came to ask about this job, I had never set foot in a hospice - I also thought it was somewhere people went to die.
I feel strongly about getting the message out that hospices support people to manage their long term conditions, live well, and focus on what matters to them.
The reality is that a hospice supports many people and their loved ones to live well and achieve what is important to them
So how better to break the mould than to get some Zumba going?
- Mary Tyrrell Place is support and therapy centre manager at Kirkwood Hospice, Huddersfield
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