Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics and speech and language therapy
Rehabilitation is offered by the Allied Health Professions Team (AHPs). They aim to provide the opportunity to improve quality of life by:
- working towards a personal goal
- minimising the effects of disease or its treatment
- helping people to maintain independence
- helping people get relief from any distressing symptoms
- providing rehabilitation, education and advice in order to maximise and maintain physical independence for as long as possible
Our expert team works closely with other St Christopher’s staff in order to co-ordinate support and care in a safe and effective way. Referrals come from a number of sources, including GPs, hospitals, members of the hospice multi-professional team and in some cases from patients themselves.
Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy
The main focus for our physiotherapists and occupational therapists is helping patients achieve their personal goals in order to maximise quality of life and maintain function and independence wherever possible. After an initial assessment, patients will usually be offered one of the following services:
Outpatients will usually be offered a supervised and personalised 6-9 week program at one of our well-equipped rehabilitation gyms at the Sydenham or Orpington site, during which goals and progress will be reviewed and exercises adapted to build confidence and activity. Patients may be given a personalised exercise program to do at home at the same time.
Inpatients at the Sydenham site will have access to the gym, and this will usually involve a personalised exercise program supervised by a physiotherapist or assistant.
If you would like to exercise at home we have created a series of videos showing you some exercises that you can do lying down, sitting and standing up.
View our video on The Gym at St Christopher’s below, which may be useful for patients and families/carers to watch.
Breathlessness Management Service (BMS)
Breathlessness can be a frightening and restrictive symptom that many people with life limiting illness experience. We help people to understand this symptom and teach strategies to cope with it better. The course, run at the Sydenham site, is for patients and their carers and consists of:
- An individual assessment with a therapist (30mins)
- Three small group sessions (Thursdays 12-1pm) giving you skills and tips to cope with your breathlessness
- An individual review with a therapist (30 mins)
(Please note, for patients attending Bromley site, individual sessions are available)
We have also developed a set of videos designed to give people advice and information about managing breathlessness.
The Living Well at Home Team
The Living Well at Home Team help patients work towards their personal goals in their own home, if they are unable to access St Christopher’s Outpatients at either site. This might be around improving mobility, coping with breathlessness or fatigue, or enabling someone to manage activities of daily living better. The process once someone has been referred is:
- Initial assessment done by a member of the Rehab team to set rehab goals and develop a rehab plan
- A volunteer is matched and will visit for 6-8 sessions to work on the rehab plan together
- A review is completed to assess progress and if goals have been achieved
Please watch the following video to find out more about this service:
For Inpatients – Occupational Therapists can advise and assist with rearranging or adapting the home environment so that it’s more suitable for a patient’s needs. They can also offer practice runs to trial an activity or a particular piece of equipment before going home.
Fit for Life and Wellbeing
At St Christopher’s we appreciate that living with a chronic, long term or terminal illness can be difficult. Fit for Life & Wellbeing is a free interactive course for anyone living in St Christopher’s catchment area who is suffering from a life limiting, long term, or chronic illness. It combines a weekly exercise session in the rehabilitation gym at Sydenham, with an education program of helpful sessions designed to help you cope and live better with your condition.
You do not have to be a patient under St Christopher’s already but will come under our service specifically for this input, for the duration of the course. It takes place on Wednesdays 3-5pm at St Christopher’s, Sydenham. Please note this course is not available at the Bromley site.
To refer yourself into this course, please call the Single Point of Contact on 020 8768 4582.
Dietitian and Speech and Language Therapy
Input from a Dietitian and a Speech and Language therapist at St Christopher’s is also available for patients on the Inpatient Unit or by appointment in Outpatients. Specialist advice and intervention can be provided for people where appropriate. Referrals are made via a member of the multi-professional team at St Christopher’s.