Circuit training isn't an activity you'd usually associate with a hospice. But that's exactly what patients are being invited to take part in under a new scheme.
'Get up and Go' launched this week and aims to boost the confidence of patients whatever their level of mobility. But unlike a regular gym session, the attendees aren't encouraged to push themselves to the limit. The 'training' is specially designed for patients with life-limiting illnesses to be able to have a go at the exercises they feel able to do. The focus is very much on what a person can do, not what they can't.
The circuit is made up of 9 stations, each with 3 levels of difficulty. Just like gym circuits, some stations offer cardiovascular exercise while some are resistance stations. Palliative care physiotherapist Jackie Barr and healthcare assistant Heather Joss have already trialled the sessions with some very positive results.
Jackie explains the benefits: "At the very first session we had a patient who was unsteady on their feet. They came and managed to complete 60% of the circuit. Their confidence increased and they were even able to walk unaided the next day after using a stick to move about beforehand. The patient found the session very beneficial and planned to replicate what they'd done at home. The sessions offer patients a safe and supportive place to find the level of what they can do, and can try and build on that over several weeks or months."
Patients who want to take part are offered 6 sessions but they can be spread over several months if the person doesn't feel well enough to attend or has appointments which clash with the sessions.
Jackie added that the sessions are very flexible: "We chart the progress of the participants so they can see what they have achieved. We allow them to find their own starting level and we have a chat with them before any exercise takes place to make sure they are well enough to have a go and that there are no red flag warnings that suggest the activity is not suitable.
"We find many of our patients can get frustrated if they are missing a hobby they can no longer do like gardening or walking. They say they just want to be able to get going, and this is the perfect way to do it in a supervised, non-intimidating environment."
The scheme is open to all hospice patients and takes place on a Monday from 10.30-11.30. Patients who attend usually aim to complete 20-30 minutes of activity. If you are a current patient of East Lancashire Hospice and want to find out more, call Jackie on 01254 287007.