A virtual wellbeing service run by Wigan and Leigh Hospice has been extended for people living with life-limiting illnesses – and is open to new members.
Oak Centre in Your Home began by running a weekly online exercise class in May but is now running six sessions every week for isolated people who have a life-limiting illness.
The virtual service helps members to stay independent, learn new skills and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
It was launched after the Oak Centre day service which ran at the hospice in Hindley three days a week had to close in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Online classes are now running three days a week and include Tai Chi, The Reader reading group, chair-based exercises, relaxation sessions, education sessions on management of symptoms – such as breathlessness and fatigue – and social group ‘Brew and Zoom’.
Jacqui White, Wellbeing Services Manager, said: “A lot of our members are shielding or staying at home a lot because of their conditions and, as such, were reporting a loss in confidence and independence. For many it was also difficult to maintain their physical condition and mental wellbeing. Oak Centre in Your Home gives them access to a varied timetable as well as one to one physiotherapy, occupational therapy and counselling either over video or telephone calls.
“Many people have really missed going to the Oak Centre but they are delighted that they can keep in touch with each other and maintain their wellbeing virtually.
“For us, what is especially thrilling, is that going virtual has meant our services are now available to a new set of people. People who are housebound or their symptoms prevent them from attending the Oak Centre in person can now be considered for accessing our services. Our existing members have also improved their digital skills as a result of us going virtual!”
Oak Centre in Your Home member, Wendy Welch, said: “Colin and I have really enjoyed the Zoom sessions provided by the Oak Centre team. We have joined the relaxation class, the chair-based exercises and the Brew and Zoom (which was our favourite).
“We had not been going to the Oak Centre very long when it had to shut down because of COVID-19 but, because of the Zoom meetings, we have been able to maintain some connections that we had started to make. Jacqui and her team have been in constant contact with us to offer support and advice throughout these strange times. It has been invaluable.”
People can self-refer to the service or find out more by contacting Oak Centre in Your Home by calling 01942 525566 or emailing email@example.com or via www.wlh.org.uk or can discuss with their health or social care professional, such as their GP or District Nurse, about being referred.