8th March 2019

Hospice helps me to ‘live life as fully as possible’

A man living with lung disease has described how hospice sessions have enabled him to ‘live life as fully as possible’.

Lionel and Susan Parkin

Lionel Parkin, from Pershore, attended a six-week course at St Richard’s Hospice around managing breathlessness – which is a symptom of his condition.

The 86-year-old, who has pulmonary fibrosis, learned techniques to help bring episodes of breathlessness under control and how to use his lung capacity efficiently.

“Most helpful were tips when we were short of breath and panicking – we were taught how to be in control,” he explained.

The breathlessness sessions are part of the hospice’s Living Well programme and are attended by a number of patients and carers – enabling people to meet others in a similar situation and share experiences.

There are a variety of Living Well courses available including adapted t’ai chi, fatigue management and arts and relaxation.

Mr Parkin added: “Once a patient can get over the fact they are attending a hospice and appreciate these sessions are to enable them to live life as fully as possible despite their condition, then one can fully participate in their efforts to keep you healthy and mobile by strengthening various muscles and pacing oneself.”

Susan Parkin, who is Mr Parkin’s wife, explained the sessions had resulted in her husband feeling “more in control of his disability”.

She said: “We cannot thank the staff of the hospice enough. St Richard’s is not just there for those at the very end of life, but also to help those with life-limiting conditions.

“The result of our experience is that Lionel is using less bottled oxygen and feels more in control of his disability.

“From the breathlessness sessions, they sent out a group of people more in control and better equipped to continue living a better life experience than they had prior to their time with the wonderful hospice staff. We were quite sad to finish.”

Gill Jubb, hospice Therapy Team Leader, said: “The ‘Managing your Breathlessness’ course covers understanding how breathing works and skills to bring episodes of breathlessness under control.

“There is the opportunity for patients and their cares to meet others in a similar situation, find out helpful strategies they can use and receive support and advice on how to cope with a condition which causes breathlessness.”

To find out more about the Living Well sessions available at St Richard’s Hospice please visit www.strichards.org.uk/live-well