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Living Well at St Barnabas House

The everyday support we offer

We’re always looking for ways to improve patients’ lives, helping them to feel as well as possible for as long as possible. Which is why in Spring 2021, we introduced a new Living Well service. From seated exercise to gardening and breathlessness groups, patients can access a range of activities and practical advice to help them feel emotionally and physically better.

This innovation in care aims to enhance the support available for patients recently diagnosed or requiring help with early symptoms, with the number and type of sessions continuing to grow and diversify.

From our patients

Heart failure can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Breathlessness and fatigue can make everyday activities and hobbies more difficult, and a diagnosis can have a big impact on a person’s emotional wellbeing as well as those around them. Our Living Well service is here to support patients to manage the challenges and lifestyle changes that can come with having a life-limiting condition. People like Shaun, who has kindly shared his experience.

“Before I became unwell, I was living a very busy life,” explains Shaun. “I used to teach, and I’d think nothing of walking 20 miles on the South Downs when I was younger. Now I have to live life in the slow lane – just walking 500 yards can be a challenge.”

To help Shaun manage his symptoms, he’s taken part in a breathlessness programme at the hospice and a series of gentle seated exercise and circuits classes.

“The exercises don’t just help with the physical side of things, they are also lift the spirits. Jules, one of the physiotherapists who runs the classes, radiates happiness. You can’t help but feel that it’s good to be alive when you’re around her. I’d never visited a hospice before so I had no idea that it would be such a joyful, calm, and happy place.

“I can come to St Barnabas and enjoy different activities and meet new people. Today I’m going home with a salmon and dill quiche I made at Bake and Taste. And when the cooking group ends, I’m thinking about joining the Creative Writing or Full Bloom gardening group as I get so much joy from writing and nature.

“Of course, there are also times when I struggle to stay positive. But one of the things that has helped me a lot are sessions with one of the hospice counsellors, Maggie. We talk on the phone or meet in person, and I can be very honest with her. We talk about painful episodes in my past and with her help I am starting to ready myself to face my own mortality.

“My life has changed so much since my diagnosis, but thanks to St Barnabas I now have hope. And it’s a comfort to know that whatever happens there are people who can care for me.” 

From our staff

Image of a nurse in the Hospice

Kathy Mardle-Aylett, Head of Clinical Services, tells us about the hospice’s vision for Living Well:

“The Living Well service has become an integral part of the services that we offer at St Barnabas House. Providing support, skills, and encouragement to 258 patients over the last 18 months – enabling them to live as well as possible with a serious life-limiting illness.

“Whether it’s developing a new love of gardening through the Full Bloom group, learning techniques to manage breathlessness, or supporting patients to create a story in the Creative Writing group, Living Well provides a safe space for this to happen alongside others who are experiencing similar challenges within their lives.”

How do I access the Living Well service?

If you think our Living Well service could be of help to you, or if you’d like to learn more about the service, please fill in our online form. We'll then be in touch to talk you through the next steps.

Refer yourself to Living Well