Danielle Smith believes physiotherapy helps promote the quality of life for people of all ages, particularly people who have life-limiting conditions that seriously affect their lives – and she can afford an expert opinion.
Because Danielle, 35, is the new lead physiotherapist at Pendleside Hospice, a role she has longed to take on.
Danielle qualified as a physio when she achieved an honours degree at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2007 having previously studied at St Hilda’s RC High School, Burnley.
She has spent most of her career with the East Lancs Hospitals NHS Trust working at Blackburn, Burnley and Pendle hospitals as well as out in the community.
She took a year out in 2011 to travel the world, particularly the Far East where she visited India, Thailand, South Asia, Singapore and then Australia before returning to the trust to resume her career.
Danielle, who is married to Laurie and has two sons Joshua, 5, and George, 3, said: “I have worked in many areas such as musculoskeletal, rehabilitation and complex discharge planning in the hospital and community settings. I have found myself working extensively with the elderly who you find are often suffering from fraility and multiple health conditions.
“When I was at university one of my work placements was at a hospice in Bradford and I thought then that that was the area I would like to work in. I felt the role of a physiotherapist in a hospice is the epitomy of what physiotherapy is all about, enhancing people’s quality of life at whatever stage of their illness.”
Danielle has had personal experience of the care that is offered by Pendleside. Her grandmother was cared for by the hospice at home service before she passed away.
She said: “I know from personal experience what a wonderful place Pendleside is. And when I arrived in July to take on my new role I received the warmest of welcomes and everyone has been so supportive.”
Danielle will oversee an occupational therapist, a trainee assistant practitioner and two rehabilitation assistants in health, well-being and rehabilitation services.
Her duties cover all aspects of Pendleside’s services which include helping care for people on the inpatients’ unit, day services patients as well as going out to visit people in their own homes.
Danielle said: “All the patients I have dealt with so far have been very receptive and appear to benefit from the exercises that we offer. The approach we take to patient care is always aimed at the individual and takes account of their condition and needs and also the needs of their family or carers.”
In addition, away from work Danielle organises pilates classes which she closely associates with physiotherapy and it is something she hopes to incorporate into her work at the hospice for both patients and staff.