A rehabilitation training programme at the end of life

Clinical practice development
First published in this online journal
Declaration of interests: 
Frances Cane, Rebecca Jennings, Jenny Taylor
Author profile (accurate when this article was originally published): 
Frances Cane is Senior Occupational Therapist, St Christopher’s Hospice, London, Rebecca Jennings is Senior Physiotherapist and Therapies Services Manager, St Joseph’s Hospice, London, and Jenny Taylor is Senior Physiotherapist and Head of the Allied Health Professional Team, St Christopher’s Hospice, London. Email: f.cane@stchristophers.org.uk

Terminally ill patients face many challenges with regard to increasing physical dependence on others to meet their practical needs. Progressive weakness, profound fatigue and gradual deconditioning make daily tasks increasingly difficult to perform. Rehabilitation techniques do not lie solely within the role of physiotherapists and occupational therapists. They are an integral part of holistic care for patients at the end of life. The promotion of rehabilitation reduces patients’ dependency on nurses, allowing them more time to deliver care to patients who are fully dependent. Rehabilitation techniques also enable patients to regain control, self-esteem and quality of life. This article describes ‘The Rehab Project’, a training programme delivered to ward nurses and healthcare assistants, by physiotherapy and occupational therapy staff, at a hospice in London. By focusing on patient empowerment and independence, the project aimed to ensure a consistent and efficient approach to nursing care provided within the hospice inpatient unit. However, the principles of rehabilitation are pertinent to nurses working in more generalist settings.

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