Festive occupational therapy at Pilgrims

Occupational therapy plays its part within the diverse range of services offered by Pilgrims Hospices.  Helping people to live well in every moment is important to everyone at the hospices.   The OT team has been helping patients on the wards to get creative and make some beautiful festive cards and angel decorations.

Della Green, Pilgrims Occupational Therapy Assistant explained: “My colleague Kristy Wells, OT Assistant at our Thanet Hospice, had the lovely idea of making up Christmas craft packs for patients to do whilst on our In-patient Units (IPU).  We are always looking at ways to expand the range of therapeutic activities provided on our IPU’s across our sites in order to offer our patients the opportunity to engage in meaningful activities.”

We are able to adapt the activities in order to meet the various needs of our patients.

Della – Pilgrims

Della Green – Pilgrims Hospices, Occupational Therapy Assistant.

The team looked through the art supplies in the Wellbeing and OT departments and designed some Christmas card and angel decoration packs. They compiled some coloured instructions for the patients (and staff) on how to assemble the items.  The kits were then put together in individually sealed plastic pockets in order to meet infection control guidelines. The packs can be completed in bed or at a table, are not energy intensive and are suitable for ladies or gentlemen of all ages. We use easily accessible resources enabling patients to continue their crafting ideas if returning home.

Della continued: “We are able to adapt the activities in order to meet the various needs of our patients.  The lovely things about the selection of packs are that they are graded so anyone can have a go, regardless of age or diagnosis.  We planned the craft activities to enable our patients to have the opportunity to bring meaning and fun with the added bonus of a beautiful end product to give to family or friends.  We can all learn new skills and enjoy new experiences whatever our age or ability and some patients have pleasantly surprised themselves, with many not having partaken in art or craft previously.

“It has been shown that taking part in arts and crafts helps aid relaxation and therefore assists in relieving symptoms such as anxiety and pain, which is particularly important with our patients.

“The feedback from patients has been very positive and whilst doing the activities patients have really enjoyed reminiscing, story-telling about family traditions, chatting about family and childhood memories. It has also encouraged conversation between patients and taking part in the craft  activities is often a great icebreaker. Patients who may have been reluctant to have a go at making something have enjoyed their sessions so much, that they have asked to make another card or angel.”

Kristy Wells – Pilgrims Hospices, Occupational Therapy Assistant.


Kristy, Pilgrims OT Assistant added: “When I used the first Christmas card making kit with a patient on our IPU, she thoroughly enjoyed the craft session as she was very into crafts at home. Not only was she pleased with the finished card, but she said that she would be sending it on to an elderly friend who lives in a nursing home and who also enjoys crafting. So two people have had pleasure from the experience.

“As patients are enjoying our Christmas kits so much, we are hoping to carry on the activities at Easter and other times during the year. Making the Christmas cards and decorations for family and friends is such a meaningful activity, especially at this time of year.”



Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured.  The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.