At Arohanui Hospice the majority of our patients end their journeys at home surrounded by family, and many of our patients may not have even stepped through the hospice’s front door, having care at their homes.
At the hospice however, we have a day stay activities-based programme where we have guest speakers, demonstrators, entertainers, pets that visit on a regular basis, a hairdresser and aromatherapy/massage therapist. For some, attending day stay helps fill the gap that work used to occupy. Often patients are keen to make things for family members, and in turn what they produce becomes very special to family members after they have died. We can also incorporate meeting other needs, such as having a shower or bath while in for the day using the wheelchair accessible bathroom or bath with hoist.
There are varying reasons why patients come. Sometimes it is an opportunity to meet with others who are in a similar situation. A day stay has a sense of safety as nursing staff are available if needed. It could be respite for carers, or simply a chance to try something new. As we know, activity can help in providing a distraction to symptoms such as pain, nausea, and shortness of breath and can assist with maintenance of function. Most of our patients are just wanting to live and get the most out of life – day stay helps provide that.
As an occupational therapist, my experience and knowledge is valued by the team and my input will be around self care, safety, equipment requirements, and recommendations for referral to other allied health staff at the district health board.