3 May 2023

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Rehabilitation in Palliative Care

Gail Preston

St Christopher's Physiotherapist Gail Preston talks about our latest skills workshops and why rehabilitative palliative care is vital to patient wellbeing

Tell us about you and your role

My name is Gail Preston and I am a physiotherapist here at St Christopher’s. I work both clinically supporting people to live the life that they want to and in education, supporting professionals to help people they support to do the same. I have been a physio over 20 years.

What education sessions are you running at the moment?

I am running some specialist sessions supporting AHPs in other roles in their understanding of palliative care and I am also involved in creating some workshops for staff in care homes so that they can support their residents to the best of their abilities.

What sort of sessions are you running for care homes?

I am doing some skills workshops. In these we will look at the theory behind something but most importantly start to put it into practice, to have a go, to make it real. In the coming months I will be running sessions on supporting people with breathlessness, falls prevention, goal setting and rehabilitative palliative care to name a few.

What will the staff gain from each of these sessions?

  • Rehabilitative palliative care: Rehabilitation professionals such as physios and occupational therapists can come and visit and provide advice and exercise programmes but what happens the rest of the time and how those plans are implemented are even more important. In this session we will look at how you can use language in a different way to promote independence. We will look at some exercises and techniques that you can start to use with residents and understand the importance of maintenance.
  • Falls prevention: In this session we will look at the risk factors for falls and what you can do on a daily basis to reduce someone’s risk whilst still allowing them to do the things that matter to them. We will explore a risk assessment around falls. We will take the principles of rehabilitative palliative care and see how we can challenge ourselves and those we work with to understand risk and to be more risk confident.
  • Breathlessness: We often have residents who experience breathlessness for a variety of reasons. In this session we will review how we breathe, understand how it is altered by disease or anxiety and learn some techniques to help someone when they are experiencing a breathlessness attack. We will also explore the things that you can do to support people to reduce them having breathlessness attacks so that your residents can live a more fulfilling and active life. You will also feel more in control and know what to say and do when you are with someone who is feeling out of control with their breathing.
  • Goal setting: Understanding what is important to someone and helping them to achieve it not only helps them to live a better life but also provides more job satisfaction to staff. In this session we will look at ways we can have the conversation with people, how to action it and make a plan. Following this session you can really make a difference to someone being able to achieve what matters to them.

What is rehabilitative palliative care?

Rehabilitative palliative care takes into account the whole person, we think about all the different elements that make that individual, their identity and their wellbeing. At the heart of it is the question ‘What matters to you?’

In that case, what matters to you?

I am really passionate about enabling people to be who they are, to live their life and to gain pleasure and meaning from it. Outside of my profession I am a mum to 3 wonderful boys and I love to run, the great outdoors and I love to have a challenge on the go, to always strive to be better.

Visit our education calendar for the dates of upcoming skills workshops at St Christopher’s CARE.

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