For ten years John Taylor Hospice’s specialist Multi-Disciplinary Team – consisting of occupational therapists, physiotherapists, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and family support workers – has been providing palliative and end of life care for people across Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.
Formed in 2009, the expert team was created to provide physical, practical and emotional support in the community for people living with advanced progressive diseases such as motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer.
The team works with various health and social care professionals to ensure people living with a terminal illness have the best possible quality of life – helping to increase independence, reduce discomfort, relieve pain and provide specialist equipment, advice and guidance.
Mum-of-two Jackie Bannister has been receiving support from the Multi-Disciplinary Team since April 2019. In early 2017, Jackie, who lives in Walmley in Sutton Coldfield, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) – a progressive neurological condition that affects the brain and nerves.
“I first noticed something wasn’t right when I began to get cramps, especially in my stomach and my legs,” explained Jackie, 63. “When my muscles started to twitch too I went back to my doctor and he said it may be something neurological. Months later I was not expecting to be told I had MND and I was horrified and so scared when I got that news.
“There is no cure for MND and it affects everyone in different ways and at varying speeds. Day to day it affects me massively now as my speech and mobility are affected, I struggle to move my hands and it’s becoming very difficult to swallow.”
Jackie was put in touch with John Taylor Hospice and describes the support she has received as ‘marvellous’. “I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them and I can’t thank them enough,” said Jackie. “From fitting grab rails in my house and ordering a reclining bed, reviewing of all my medication, providing me with new medical equipment and even helping to organise domestic help for us at home – they’ve covered everything but are always willing to do even more.”
Retired Department of Work and Pensions Advisor Jackie lives with her daughter Zoe, 27, who is now her full-time carer. Zoe added: “Living with MND can be unpredictable, frightening and overwhelming but with John Taylor staff you just feel like you’re in a safe pair of hands.
“I had no idea that a hospice could help with things like medication, complementary therapies, acupuncture, counselling and getting new equipment. They’ve opened our eyes to help we didn’t even know was available and I really think we’d be in such a bad place without them. They’ve taken such a weight off our shoulders and we can’t express how much they’ve done for us – the list is endless. We can’t thank them enough and think they’re amazing.”
Sarah Mimmack, Director of Clinical Services at John Taylor Hospice, said: “When our Multi-Disciplinary Team formed 10 years ago it was unique as no other specialist support team such as this existed in the local area and this remains the case.
“We are very proud to have led the way, responding to the changing needs of our local communities and ensuring high quality and personalised care is available for families in the comfort of their own homes.
“And over the next three years we look to extend our services even further meaning we can provide more care when, how and where it is needed and help to ensure more people can live life to the full for as long as possible.”