Stress is natural response for both patients and those around them when faced with the diagnosis of life-limiting illness. If stress gets overwhelming, this can have serious negative effects. Our holistic approach to hospice care means that at the Rowans we go beyond just treating the physical diagnosis of a patient. We also care for the patient, their carer and their family’s emotional, spiritual and psychological suffering. We offer support, advice and services from diagnosis; endeavouring to be alongside patients, carers and their family every step of the way. This approach is clearly evident through the services offered at Rowans Living Well Centre. From well-being, social and skills groups to creative and complementary therapies, the centre provides a haven for people affected by life limiting and progressive illness and those who support them. The nurses, staff and volunteers that run the centre all focus on helping people to live well. Key to this is relieving the stress during a very stressful time. Here Registered General Nurse Helen Slater, local artist and Arts & Crafts Group volunteer Nicki Turner and Irene Shenton, who attends the Living Well Centre, share their experiences of the centre.
Registered General Nurse Helen Slater
‘In the short time I have been in post in the Living Well Centre, I have already seen the impact that our range of therapies and groups have had on people. I have witnessed real progress in people who have accessed our help and support.
‘People suffering from life-limiting illnesses such as Parkinson’s, who have become overwhelmed by the worries of their diagnoses, have looked better after experiencing one of our mindfulness sessions.
‘Partners struggling with a bereavement have benefited from one of our complementary therapies, such as hypnotherapy, that has helped to improve their sleep.
‘The therapies we offer, whether complementary or creative, provide a way of switching off for a bit, offering something nice to channel into and take some time out for themselves; which is important for personal emotional and psychological well-being.
‘It is not just the skills groups or craft activities themselves that help. The jewellery-making workshop is fantastic, but essentially what makes our range of groups and activities so special is the friendships that develop and the support they give to each other.’
Local artist Nicki Turner, who runs her own art classes and is a volunteer who helps to run the art and craft group.
‘Volunteering at the weekly arts and crafts sessions has given me a chance not to see art as work, but to really step back and see the therapeutic benefits it gives. I have actually witnessed how much the members of the group benefit from it.
‘The weekly session gives all the members of the group, who are either bereaved, a carer or have a diagnosis themselves, the chance to forget and relax by focusing on something which is different. It really gives them the opportunity to forget about everything else that is going on.
‘Sitting next to them, they often say how they appreciate coming to just sit and do something, in a very welcoming, supportive environment. I also recognise the arts and crafts are just the thing they do whilst here.
‘Yes many discover a new talent, however it is the session as a whole and the great friendships that are made that are so beneficial.’
Irene Shenton, who attends the weekly art and craft sessions
“It is a year since my husband died, and now I am enjoying spending every Wednesday morning at the Living Well Centre, doing crafts similar to what he enjoyed doing at day care.
‘When he died I was just so lonely. We had been together for such a long time, it is hard when your partner dies, trying to fill your time. I am so pleased I could come back to the Rowans.
‘The weekly craft group gives me a chance to learn new things, like painting and making jewellery, but the best thing is that it is so welcoming and friendly here. I have made some really good friends, like Daphne. We support each other and have a really good laugh together.’