Who better to talk about the amazing work our charity does than the people behind it? As part of our Staff Spotlight series we caught up with Occupational Therapist, Angela Deffley, who shares an insight into her role with The Hospice Charity Partnership.
I am one of the Occupational Therapists within the Therapy Team based at our Erdington hospice site and have worked here for just over 12 years. Prior to that I had worked within the acute hospital and hospice settings (one of these being Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice) and this is where my passion for palliative care began.
Our aim is to support patients to have as active and independent a life as possible, and to maximise comfort and quality of life, regardless of life expectancy.”
The Therapy Team based at the Erdington site includes two Occupational Therapists, one being Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist Faye Collins, and a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, Louise Tipson. We also have two part-time Therapy Support Workers, Michelle Parker and Vicky Hawkes. Recently we have employed a new Physiotherapist, Andy Robertson, and are looking forward to him joining the team this month.
As an Occupational Therapist I work across three settings; the In-patient Unit, Living Well Centre services and in the community where my role includes providing specialist clinical advice, intervention and support to patients living with a life-limiting condition.
Our aim is to support patients to have as active and independent a life as possible, and to maximise comfort and quality of life, regardless of life expectancy.
This is achieved by carrying out client centred assessments of mobility and function and providing recommendations regarding the provision of assistive equipment and environmental adaptations. I also teach adaptive techniques to compensate for changes in function.
Part of my role is to also deliver education in symptom control, including fatigue, anxiety and breathlessness management. This is delivered face to face with individual patients, within a group setting as part of the Living Well Programme and the Fatigue, Anxiety and Breathlessness (FAB) patient self-management group. The aim of education is to empower patients to self-manage their symptoms of fatigue, breathlessness and anxiety allowing patients to achieve their full potential.
The Therapy Team is currently working with our Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialist Mary Abbott and we are launching FAB drop in sessions in the New Year. Our established FAB patient programme has highlighted the need for maintenance sessions for patients who have attended the FAB sessions. These FAB drop-in sessions aim to continue to empower patients to better self-manage their symptoms, to further improve function where possible and to prevent patients deconditioning as well as providing them with ongoing support.
Our team has continued to grow as we work closely with the Selly Park site’s Therapy Team.”
I’m also working on a new hospice-wide project to support patients with a diagnosis of dementia to live independently for as long as possible and will be delivering home safety sessions to patients who are earlier on in their diagnosis of dementia.
I am pleased to say that with the recent merger between Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice in Selly Park and John Taylor Hospice in Erdington to form The Hospice Charity Partnership, our team has continued to grow as we work closely with the Selly Park site’s Therapy Team.
In terms of my day-to-day tasks my role has not changed significantly since the merger. However, now that we are a wider Therapies Team there is more support available within the team and options for cross cover when this is required.
I think a big benefit of the merger for me is the opportunity to be part of a larger Therapies Team and the support and learning that goes hand in hand with this. We are also working more collaboratively to align the therapy service provision across both sites and to raise the profile of our wider Therapy Team across the organisation.
Thank you Angela, be sure to stay tuned for our upcoming Staff Spotlights to find out more about the people behind our charity.