Why hospice OT is passionate about palliative rehabilitation

Claire Smart, an OT at Saint Francis Hospice

Claire Smart, an OT at Saint Francis Hospice - Credit: Saint Francis Hospice

Claire Smart tells us why she is incredibly proud to work in her varied and fulfilling role as an occupational therapist (OT) at Saint Francis Hospice, and why she is passionate about palliative rehabilitation.

The main aim of my role is to help people to live well with their palliative diagnosis and engage them in meaningful occupations in order to improve their quality of life.

I am really passionate about helping people to live their best-quality life and my role at the hospice allows me to really make a difference.

The role is really varied. I carry out assessments with people both in their own homes and also on our ward at the hospice.

I provide people with the tools to promote their independence and wellbeing, which includes providing equipment, rehabilitation, education and symptom management input to help people self-manage their symptoms at home.

Alongside my therapy team colleagues, we have begun to run small groups again in Pemberton Place and are thrilled to welcome people back to the hospice.

It can be an emotionally challenging role at times but I focus on what I can do to support people and improve their quality of life despite their illness.

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The most rewarding thing for me is to see the difference that my interventions can make; sometimes really simple things can promote independence and improve someone’s experience.

We had a woman on the inpatient unit recently who could not lie down in bed as the disease in her abdomen caused a lot of pain and she had difficulty breathing lying down.

Providing her with a small piece of equipment, in this case a back rest, made such a difference to her quality of life; she was able to lie comfortably in bed without any breathing difficulties and was thrilled.

I am really passionate about palliative rehabilitation at the hospice and work together with our patients to identify their goals and help them achieve these.

A recent patient on the ward had a fall at home and lost her confidence with mobility.

Through providing her with a walking frame and daily rehabilitation, our therapy assistant Sarah and I were able to restore her confidence and she returned home mobilising independently and confidently; a huge achievement for her.

I feel truly honoured to meet our patients and be part of their journey here at the hospice and am proud of the impact that I can have as an OT on people’s quality of life.

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