Laura Murton is a Specialist Occupational Therapist working with people in day therapy groups and in their own homes in the community. Here she shares her #SmallChangeBigImpact story:
What was the challenge?
Pam* unable to verbalise her feelings due to her condition resulting in loss of her speech, she was clearly visibly angry when attending group.
What was the change?
Pam found another outlet to express her emotions by using creative activities including painting. We threw different colour paint at a large piece of paper and used our hands to swirl it all round and finger paint the pictures.
What was the impact?
Stress levels reduced for this lady, a negative emotion was turned into a positive and there was laughter all round.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.
Laura has also shared why she loves being an Occupational Therapist;
What I like best is the feedback people I work with give me and how they make me feel. Some of them are having a really tough time but they are able to come along and almost forget their worries. They laugh and joke and they are all happy and just so grateful for the input of the hospice.
I feel privileged to work with people when they’re having such a difficult time. With many people it’s towards the very end of their life and it’s wonderful that they want to spend that time with us and share what is going on with us.
People come along to the groups in Clacton and Colchester and have a chance to access complementary therapies and to interact with their peers within a group environment. Groups are very much led by the patients and the goals they want to achieve. For some, this may be social interaction and a bit of respite for their families or carers at home, and some have some reablement goals such as fatigue management, breathless management, fall prevention; it can be a range of different things.
One of the day therapy groups I’m involved with is the gardening group, a six week social and therapeutic horticulture programme for patients with an interest in gardening. The people who come along share their interest, learn from each other, and to get involved in therapeutic activities, such as sowing seeds, potting up herbs and creative garden arts.
From speaking to the patients about what they get out of the group, the thing that stands out the most is that they always want to go back, which speaks volumes really. They do really enjoy it; they find friendship by coming out and seeing other people, because a lot of them are not able to get out of the house on their own. Coming out to a different environment is really nice for them; it’s quite a relaxed and homely environment. People find that sharing their problems or concerns with other people in the group can be really helpful because they can learn from others who have been in similar situations.
On the final week of the gardening group, we have planted something together and one group chose to plant a Red Robin. One of the gentlemen in the group was a really keen gardener but unfortunately due to his condition he was not able to access his garden at home. Coming to our gardening group, he was very enthusiastic and very inspirational to the rest of the group and he got them very involved in planting the Red Robin. It is out on the decking at the Joan Tomkins Centre and is now really well established. He died a few weeks after but the nice thing is the plant is still there and it’s a lovely reminder to the group members of what was achieved, and a nice reminder of him and what he brought to the group.
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The Hospice, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, C04 9JU
Telephone: 01206 845 566
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Telephone: 01255 221 222
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