Northampton hospice wants to show patients how they can find their independence again
When so much can change in a person's life with the news of a serious illness, it can feel like an old way of life has been lost.
But now a Northampton hospice is offering a new service to help people with life-limiting illnesses find their independence again.
Yesterday (April 8) marked the launch of the Wellbeing Service at the Cynthia Spencer's Hospice Charity, off Kettering Road.
Through classes, guidance and meet-ups with others in the same situation, the hospice's team want to show patients how they can manage their diagnosis and hold on to their quality of life for as long as possible.
"When someone is diagnosed they need to be aware of what things could happen to them. A GP can't give advice on how you will live your life day-to-day.
"We've launched this service to help people maintain their independence as much as possible and live as normal a life as possible."
The service offers classes on how to manage the impact of an illness to exercise groups to social meet-ups. Fatigue and breathing management can show a patient how to use their energy more effectively, while seated Tai Chi and Gym Buddies can rebuild mobility.
"If the service wasn't here I feel I would be stuck at home," says Bev Hughes, from Wootton, who has been visiting Cynthia Spencer for seven months. "I don't know what I would do without it.
"I like to keep as fit as possible but since my diagnosis means I just can't use a regular gym.
"The therapy room means I can keep up that active life I enjoy. It's so important to me."
But maybe patients just want a light lunch and an afternoon quiz with some friends - there's that too.
Mick Barker, 73, has been visiting Cynthia Spencer for three years. He said: "Sometimes it's just nice to speak to someone who's in the same boat as you. You'll understand what you're both going through.
"I've been trying seated Tai Chi. I used to think it was what ninjas do, and I probably wouldn't take it seriously if it wasn't for the service. But with the service, it encourages me to actually do it instead of just thinking about it and having another cup of tea."
The Wellbeing Service is not behind a barrier - anyone over 18 in the whole county who has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness can ask their GP to refer them to Cynthia Spencer.
And as of the launch, it is the only service of it's kind in the Northamptonshire.
The Wellbeing Service is free to patients and has been funded by the Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity. Visit their website for more details.
The launch of the Wellbeing Service coincided with the re-opening of the hospice's Woodland Walk, which has been extended and completed with furniture after a 12-week renovation project.