Palliative rehab team wins award for ‘empowering’ patients in the community

A project led by a physiotherapist based at an east London hospice has won the ‘innovation in volunteering’ category at Hospice UK’s 2015 Awards. 


ELT facilitator Ameena Rahman, volunteers Leoni Cachia and Maggi Gonzalez, physio Matt Wheatley and volunteer Akira Cripps

Physio Matt Wheatley runs the empowered living team (ELT) at St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney. The award was presented at a ceremony in Liverpool last month.

Patients needing palliative care at home in the London borough of Newham receive rehab programmes delivered by 42 trained volunteers. The aim is to to maximise patients’ functional independence and offer activities that improve their quality of life.

Eight one-hour visits

Patients receive eight weekly, one-hour visits from a volunteer before being reassessed by a physiotherapist. They set their own ‘empowerment goals’ and are supported and supervised by an ELT volunteer.

Mr Wheatley said that patients who completed the programme achieved 78 per cent of their goals. These include improvements in confidence, functional independence and exercise tolerance, as well as better wellbeing and fewer hospital admissions and GP visits, he told Frontline.

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