New Treadmill Helps Hospice Physiotherapy Patients
19th September 2016
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Staff and patients at Phyllis Tuckwell were thrilled when a new treadmill was donated to the Hospice, delighting in particular those who attend and run its weekly physiotherapy exercise group.

The group, which meets every Thursday morning, was set up in September 2015 by physiotherapist Sue Cullum. Sue, along with volunteers who help at the Hospice, guides and monitors patients as they complete a series of activities aimed at building muscle strength, stamina and fitness levels, which many have found that their illnesses - such as cancer - and also the medication which they have received to treat these illnesses, have impacted on.

The exercises are performed in a circuit, each taking two minutes, with physiotherapists monitoring the participants. Activities include using a cycling machine, walking on a treadmill or up and down a set of steps, pushing against a wall, moving from sitting to standing, and lifting small hand and leg weights.

PTHC patient Paul Shrubb, who suffers from motor neurone disease, has been coming to these exercise sessions since they were first introduced. The group had started off without a treadmill, but Sue felt that patients would benefit from one, so bought a second-hand one for them to try. It proved very popular and beneficial, but as it was second-hand it lacked some of the recent features that more modern treadmills have, and with such regular use it started to become unreliable, so the group had to stop using it.

Soon after it was discarded, Paul announced “I’ve ordered you a new one”. He had decided to buy the group a new treadmill, saving the physiotherapy team the money needed to purchase it themselves, and providing patients with a piece of equipment which will help build their strength and stamina, enabling them to remain independent for longer and boosting their confidence and self-esteem.

The money for the treadmill was raised by the Ash Music Festival, which Paul’s daughter and son-in-law, who own The Lion Brewery in Ash, organise every year. The festival is held every July at Harper’s Recreation ground and is very popular with locals, drawing in large crowds. It features music from many local bands as well as providing a beer tent, bouncy castles and an ice cream van.

The treadmill was delivered to the Hospice in July and has been given the thumbs up from physios and patients alike. “We are thrilled - it is absolutely fantastic, says Sue. “It’s even better than the old one, as it has different speeds options and gradient settings. We would like to thank Paul for this generous gift, which will benefit not only those who attend the exercise group but many other patients at the Hospice too. We support over 250 patients, relatives and carers every day, and through physiotherapy we can improve the quality of life of our patients, enabling them to remain as independent as possible throughout each stage of their illness.

Brian, another patient who has attended the exercise group since it first began, said “I have a weak right leg, and any exercise which helps strengthen the muscles in it helps me a great deal. The treadmill is perfect for this.

“This group of people are special, says Paul, “because when I first came I didn’t know how I could do a keep fit class, having MND. I would like to thank them all for their help, especially Sue, our physiotherapist.

If you would like to make a donation to Phyllis Tuckwell, to help it offer the wide range of medical and nursing care, therapies, counselling, social work advice and practical support which it provides to patients and families who are living with a terminal illness, please visit

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