We’re proud to have a multi-disciplinary team at Tŷ Hafan. We give children and families holistic care to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. An important part of that team is Sara Wade-West, our Physiotherapist, who works hard to make sure that the children who are supported by Tŷ Hafan are comfortable and can experience as much as possible.

“Physiotherapy at Tŷ Hafan is all about keeping the children comfortable and maximising their physical opportunities,” explains Sara.

“Many of the children don’t have the opportunity to be mobile, so we aim to give them those opportunities for movement and to explore their environment in other ways. My role focuses on enhancing the children’s quality of life and balancing their medical, physical and respiratory needs – having fun and gaining new experiences.

“Much of my role is about working closely with families, as well as directly with the child. Families can come to me with problems relating to their child’s physical needs, such as positioning and finding appropriate new activities for them, and it’s my job to solve those problems. I also signpost families to support options in their local area.

“Most of the children who come to Tŷ Hafan will have a Physiotherapist local to them. However, during a hospice stay, we have the time and space to observe them across a longer period. When a child is with us for a few days, we can spend that time figuring out how we can make their physiotherapy plan and equipment work best in the context of day-to-day family life.

“During a day at work, I might take a child in the hydrotherapy pool for therapy, or I might facilitate a family swim session. Family swim sessions are a new feature at Tŷ Hafan, but they’re already really popular!

“There aren’t many hydrotherapy pools around, and taking a child with complex needs to a leisure centre can be tricky because they’re often not accessible and the child can get uncomfortably cold in the cool water.

“Siblings can use the hydrotherapy pool, too. These sessions are often the only time they’re all able to swim together as a family. “I also help our Care Team and families to find comfortable positions or movements for children when they experience pain, which supports symptom management.

“Here, there are endless opportunities for children and young people to get involved in inclusive activities. When I first started working at Tŷ Hafan, I was struck by how much effort the whole team puts into making something happen for children and families. The answer is very rarely, ‘No, we can’t do that’!

“I think people would be surprised by how much the children are able to do when activities are facilitated in a way that’s bespoke to their needs. At Tŷ Hafan, it’s all about the children and the families and we have the flexibility to meet their needs in an individual way. It’s not all about waiting lists and doing what you can in an allocated timeframe. It’s about doing the absolute best we can for every single family.”

Thank you, Sara, for all that you do.