New service helps people live well for longer

A dad-of-three who considered suicide after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease says a new service which helps terminally ill adults live well for longer has saved his life.

Pete Almond, 64, from Luton, said he supports the Macmillan Independence and Well-being Service, launched today and based at Keech Hospice Care, because it has given him back his quality of life after it seemed all hope was lost.

Pete Almond 1

“I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2005 and I was in a deep, dark place with depression. The bottom dropped out of my world because when you read about Parkinson’s there is not a pleasant future to look forward to,” said Pete.

“I lost my family, I lost my home and I lost my job as a production engineer. I was referred to the service which has helped me enormously. It has been brilliant.

“It’s changed me mentally and physically. I would recommend anybody who has the chance to take up this opportunity and grab it while it is going. What have you got to lose?”

The Macmillan Independence and Well-being Service provides rehabilitation for people in Luton and South Bedfordshire with long-term, palliative conditions including; cancer, Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders.

Pete Almond 2

Lunar Summers, Macmillan Palliative Occupational Therapist at Keech Hospice Care, said staff at the hospice, work with patients either one-on-one or as part of wider group sessions.

“We are about helping people to live well for longer, to enjoy their lives and live the best lives they can for the possible years to come. We provide treatment which has been proven to impact every aspect of people’s emotional and physical well-being,” said Lunar.

Kerry Boocock, Macmillan Palliative Physiotherapist at Keech Hospice Care, said the benefits the service provides to patients can have a dramatic effect on their lives.

“A lady with cancer joined our circuit group and after a few weeks told me she had built up the stamina to do some shopping - which is something she never thought she could do before – it’s had a massive impact on her confidence,” said Kerry.

The service is available to anyone in Luton and South Bedfordshire who is referred by their GP, consultant or specialist nurse to Keech Hospice Care. It is a partnership between Keech Hospice Care – which relies on the community for 70 per cent of the £5.6million it needs every year to survive – and Macmillan Cancer Support, which has funded the therapist roles.