27 September 2021
Our oncology unit at University Hospital Southampton is one of 12 UK regional cancer centres, and we are developing as a global centre of excellence. Clara Chamberlain, Advanced Occupational Therapist, explains:
“Through funding from Southampton Hospitals Charity, we have developed an upper limb activity box to be used with our patients, mainly those experiencing decreased dexterity or decreased grip strength as a side effect from their cancer or cancer treatment.
In the box are some grip strength rings which can aid rehabilitation by squeezing the rubber rings, to help build up patients’ grip strength.
We wanted the therapy to be fun for our patients so that they see the tasks as enjoyable! Activities include colouring with large grip colouring pencils, crosswords with special pen grips, large print playing cards and normal playing cards.
We also encourage patients to ask family members to bring in their usual hobbies if they enjoy knitting or small craft activities to help to keep them motivated.
These activities have a huge benefit for our patients as not only can it be used to occupy time but also provide rehabilitation at the same time without the patients even necessarily thinking of it as rehabilitation and therapy.
The aim is to promote and enable use of the patient’s upper limbs and to help the patient achieve some independence with personal care tasks, eating meals, while enjoying a leisure activity on the ward.
Simple things like the items in the box only cost a small amount of money, but they really do have a massive impact on our patients.”