The Living Well Service is a wonderful, unique part of our charity. Located in the heart of Compton Hall, it’s more than just a support service. For many, it’s a lifeline.
There’s no ‘one fits all’ approach here, since everyone will have different reactions, needs and questions following their diagnosis. By providing a bespoke care package, the Living Well team are able to tailor the service to suit the personal goals of each individual.
One such member of the team is Clare Mills, who has been at Compton since 1986 and works as a Diversional Therapist, which involves coordinating recreational activities to enhance patient wellbeing.
“I love my job. Witnessing the transformation of those who attend our sessions is amazing, and not a day goes by where we don’t get people smiling!” – Clare Mills, Diversional Therapist
One of the most recent examples of Clare’s work at Living Well is the use of Virtual Reality technology, which we discussed in our previous blog. VR has had an incredible effect on those who have used the headset, with self-reporting pain scores reducing dramatically after using the device. One patient commented, ‘I can escape to a completely different world, and for a little while I’m not poorly, I’m not ill, and all my troubles melt away’.
But it’s not just about the latest developments in tech. Living Well provides the practical and emotional tools for those accessing the service to be able to live with their condition and remain independent. This takes the form of various workshops, group sessions, and more personalised support where appropriate. Activities on offer are wide ranging – with everything from horticulture to information sessions on symptom management and the practicalities of planning for the future.
“Living Well is all about empowering our patients so that they can be the best they can be and take charge of their condition. People often leave here with a completely different outlook on life.” – Marie White, Living Well Service Team Leader
Here are some examples of what’s on offer at Living Well…
You may have heard about the recent opening of our new coffee shop, Crumbles, but did you know that Living Well have their very own café too? Taking place every Wednesday, this peer support session offers a safe environment where members of the group can talk freely with others in a similar situation. Whether it’s having a go at a quiz, playing games or sitting on the patio and having a chat, there’s something for everyone. The group is ideal for those seeking some companionship, or simply a place where they’re guaranteed to be treated like a person and not just an illness.
The dedicated education programme at Living Well enables attendees to receive an in-depth look at the support services available at Compton, along with tips on how to better manage their own care, and some relaxation. Over the course of 8 weeks, attendees will also be able to build relationships with staff, volunteers, and their peers. Other educational sessions taking place at Living Well include Advance Care Planning, which tackles a difficult subject in a practical and empathetic way, leaving patients with some much-needed peace of mind. A brand-new Fatigue, Anxiety and Breathlessness group is also being introduced in the coming weeks, as a collaboration between Living Well and the Compton Physiotherapy team.
As part of a 6-week course, the Living Well horticulture group provides an excellent opportunity for patients to get out in the fresh air and have a go at gardening. With a wheelchair-accessible greenhouse, plus Compton volunteers and gardeners to support, the only question is what to grow first! Catering Services Manager Tom Keen was so impressed by the group’s recent efforts that he requested for their homegrown lettuce to be used within the freshly-prepared salads at Crumbles.
Singing for Health
This is a virtual group and is open to anyone who loves a good singalong! Run by a music therapist, the session is fantastic for improving lung capacity and having fun. A decent singing voice is not required either, as microphones can be muted – who cares if you’re in tune or not anyway? The singing sessions proved especially popular during lockdown when physical visits to the centre were off limits.
Although we can shout (or sing) from the rooftop of Compton Hall about the benefits of Living Well, the impact of the service is probably best summarised in the words of our service users and their loved ones themselves. Here are a few recent quotes from Living Well attendees to round off the blog…
“It’s the first time I think I’ve seen my husband smile since he was diagnosed. He’s just a completely different person, I could cry I’m that happy.”
“Before Compton I felt like I had nothing. I was so depressed and I didn’t want this life. Now I have a reason to smile again. Compton is like a big cosy blanket and everyone looks after you. I’ve not felt so alone. They’ve given me a lifeline.”
“[attending a horticulture session] was one of the happiest days of my life! To be around people again and to be able to laugh, joke and learn something new. I don’t think I’m ever going to be like Alan Titchmarsh but I gave it a good go!”
“You have changed my life for the better.”
For more information about how to access the Living Well Service, please contact 01902 774570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org