Pilot projects keeps patients active

Passing the ball during one of the exercise sessions with Age UK
Passing the ball during one of the exercise sessions with Age UK

Published on 9 September 2019

Specialist therapists at the William Harvey Hospital have teamed up with volunteers from Age UK in Hythe and Lyminge for a pilot project aimed at keeping patients active.

Age UK support worker Wendy McEvitt is visiting wards across the hospital to lead chair-based exercise sessions because research shows that if patients move more during their time in hospital, they recover faster.

Wendy, who runs the sessions with volunteer Pat Brealey and therapy staff, said the idea was to have as much fun as possible.

She said: “One patient was surprised he laughed so much, and said he thought it was meant to be hard work, not fun.

“We really want people to enjoy themselves – we want them to work and move their muscles but it can be fun at the same time.

“Our first session was this week and I was so impressed with everyone. It was lovely to hear their feedback afterwards.”

Wendy has run similar chair-based exercise sessions at Age UK for the past 12 years and is working with specialist Occupational Therapist Emma Pope on the six-week pilot project.

In the future, it could be expanded to add more exercise groups, or to use other Age UK services such as befriending on the wards or singing groups.

Emma said: “Wendy really makes exercise fun for the patients and it was a great session.

“Several of them said they were already looking forward to the next one, which is fantastic.

“As well as enjoying the exercises, they also enjoyed each other’s company and there were some new friendships formed.”