Thursday 17th August 2017

My name is Nikki Tuff, and I'm a specialist Palliative Care Physiotherapist at Farleigh Hospice. I've been a physiotherapist since 1999, having decided it was the job I wanted after a lightbulb moment I had during treatment on a knee injury. Before that I worked at the accountancy firm of a family friend!

My role is extremely varied. I help patients deal with issues surrounding mobility, falls, chest and respiratory problems, or pain and symptom control. I am also responsible for providing general palliative rehabilitation which is designed to help people make the most of their lives despite their illness.

No two days are the same as a physiotherapist. I start every morning by checking my emails and any upcoming tasks on SystmOne (a clinical database). My team and I then attend various meetings, including a daily 30 minute triage meeting to discuss recent hospice referrals with other clinical teams. After these briefings are over, I dedicate most of my remaining time to seeing patients on the Inpatient Unit, other days I'll visit people at home or at our Day Service clinics. We do whatever we can at the place most appropriate for the patient.

During home visits we assess a patient's surrounding environment and ensure that they can move about safely. We also help them deal with breathlessness and pain management if necessary. Ideally we like to see our patients at the hospice as we have a fully equipped gym that they can use. Sally Davis, another Physiotherapist, and I are also qualified to provide acupuncture, and although we don't provide an acupuncture service, we can offer it as a service to help ease pain, breathlessness, and anxiety.

We run two breathlessness groups and a circuits group each week. The circuits group involves us taking 4 or 5 patients around the gym to do various exercises on the specialist equipment. The rest of my day is spent doing general admin including writing notes and ordering any new equipment.

I enjoy my work and I love my patients. I'm a talker, so I enjoy listening to the stories they tell and learning about their lives. The best part of my job is helping people to achieve their goals, even if that means getting to walk with patients to the pub!


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