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https://socialcare.blog.gov.uk/2019/05/14/sing-if-youre-winning/

Sing if you’re winning…

Microphone against multicoloured lights background

Staying in tune

In his twenties, Arthur sang after work in pubs in the east end of London. He continues to entertain his fellow day therapy patients at the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.

This is just one of many examples we have of people from our local community coming together to share experiences, gain support and enrich their lives through our day therapy service. People with a life-limiting illness can be referred by healthcare professionals, including GP’s and district nurses.

Following holistic assessments, our skilled multi-disciplinary team work with patients to set achievable goals over a period of eight sessions. This team is made up of nurses, healthcare assistants, complementary therapists, creative activity teams, a chaplain, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychological therapists, medical teams and volunteers.

The social group aspect of our day therapy sessions is vitally important and the vibrancy and buzz they generate is something to behold.

A clinician treats a day patient at the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre
The Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre supports people living with life-limiting illnesses.

Introducing the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre

As a charity serving the county of Cambridgeshire, we also have our Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre based in Wisbech where our multi-disciplinary palliative care team provides a service which includes day therapy, treatment and clinical days (including haematology and oncology work), complementary and diversional therapies, bereavement and support services.

The centre also supports people and their families with outpatient visits and provides clinical advice and support to palliative patients on the adjacent Trafford Ward.

Silhouette of a choir singing with arms upheld
Nothing says (sings?) community like a choir!

Care and choir practice

Singing is such an important part of our family of services that we have our own choir, fondly named Skylarks. The choir welcomes staff and volunteers from all departments of our charity and meets regularly to rehearse at the Hospice.

Last year, they performed at our annual celebration evening and they often support our fundraising events including our Summer fete. This complements the work undertaken with the day therapy attendees who also sign up for singing classes. It is wonderful to walk down the corridor and hear music in the air.

If you’re surprised that you’re reading about hospice provision and death hasn’t been mentioned once yet, there’s a very good reason for that.

An important part of our awareness raising is to share with people the work we are doing to help people live well with life-limiting illnesses, not just supporting them to die well when the time comes.

Symbol: a hand cradling a heart inside a house surrounded by a protective green dome
Holistic approaches to palliative and end of life care reap enormous benefits for recipients and those close to them

Care in the round

One of the words we would use to describe our organisation’s approach is holistic:  we are concerned to support the whole family, as well as the person experiencing ill-health and this involves emotional, spiritual and psychological care as much as clinical care.

Our Patient and Family Support Team includes psychologists, bereavement counsellors, a social worker and is led by our non-denominational chaplain. The team is supported by our amazing volunteers and is an integral part of our provision.

Equipping people with the knowledge and ability to live well with a life-limiting condition is a vital part of our approach and we engage with many community services and voluntary sector partners to achieve this.

Carers Trust logoForging links

We would love to provide more joined up support for carers which is why we’re engaging with Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk Carers Trust to look at how we can work together on this endeavour.

Indeed, our efforts very much chime with the goals of NHS England’s Long Term Plan (LTP). The LTP includes commitments to enhancing support for the paid workforce, family and informal carers, and people living in care homes and hospices. Actions include enhanced and secure information sharing and greater coordination within and between primary care services.

These networks include general practice, community teams, social care hospitals and the voluntary sector. Our charity – and others like us – want to play an active role in supporting the plan’s focus on prevention, crisis intervention, reablement, rehabilitation, and – of course - end of life care.

When someone is approaching the end of their life, we continue to support them, their family and loved ones through our Arthur Rank Community Team and our Inpatient Unit – as well as supporting local care and nursing care homes to provide good end of life care.

The Arthur Rank Hospice is a core part of our local community, making sure everyone has a good life and a good death - and that’s why we’re singing.

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