Shining a Light on Motor Neurone Disease

Diane and Team Raising Awareness of MND

Global MND Awareness Day, observed on Friday, 21st June, brings attention to Motor Neurone Disease, a devastating condition that affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time.

At Pendleside Hospice, the commitment to supporting those living with MND is exemplified by the dedicated work of our Occupational Therapist, Diane Herbert. With nearly two years at the Hospice, Diane leads the day service groups within the Health, Wellbeing, and Rehabilitation Department, including specialised neurological groups held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. These groups provide essential support for individuals with neurological conditions, including Motor Neurone Disease.

At Pendleside, we go above and beyond, to ensure accessibility for those who are unable to make their own way to the Hospice, by offering transportation services across Burnley and Pendle. Our two Hospice minibuses are also able to take wheelchairs. This ensures that individuals can reach the Hospice and receive the care they require. Diane and the team are committed to providing patients with comprehensive physical and emotional support, including linking them with local services so that they’re able to receive essential equipment to improve their safety at home.

“Having both a personal and professional connection to Motor Neurone Disease, I want to raise awareness of MND and share what support is available at Pendleside Hospice, to people in our area,” says Diane. “Motor Neurone Disease is a cruel and relentless illness that can affect even the healthiest and fittest of people. Sadly, I lost my dad, John, to MND in 2015. I saw firsthand the impact of the disease on his life. My dad was my treasure, a keen cyclist and family man, who died shortly after retirement. Towards the end of his life, my dad received support from Pendleside Hospice, and I’ll never forget the compassionate and personal care he received from our wonderful Hospice at Home team.”

Diane's Father, John Herbert

Diane's personal experience with MND adds a profound depth to her professional dedication. She understands the emotional and physical toll the disease takes not only on the patients but also on their families. “Although the disease undoubtedly affects those living with it, mentally, they’re still very much aware of who they are and their surroundings. Over time, how they express themselves will change, but with the right guidance, love, and support, their final days, weeks, and months can still be meaningful and fulfilling.”

Our rehabilitation services play a crucial role in this support system. Diane emphasises, “For those living with MND, or any other neurological condition, we’re there to help them every step of the way. We can’t change the outcome, but we can support them on their journey to maintaining a healthy state of well-being. We support our service users in many ways and tailor our care to meet specific needs. We provide occupational therapy and physiotherapy, which can help people to maintain functional independence for as long as possible.”

The support at Pendleside extends beyond rehabilitation services. The Hospice at Home team frequently visits patients with neurological conditions, providing a range of services that include assessments, support visits, respite care for family members and carers, and night sits. These services are essential for maintaining the quality of life for patients and providing much-needed relief and support for their families.

Kate Gerrety, Pendleside Hospice’s Team Leader, serves as our MND Champion. Her role involves staying updated with the latest news and developments in MND care and attending quarterly meetings with other healthcare professionals in Burnley and Pendle, including the local MND Specialist Nurse. This proactive approach ensures that Kate is aware of who needs support within the area and can handle referrals effectively, sharing this crucial information with our team.

Diane’s connection to MND is deeply personal, inspiring her heartfelt commitment to raising awareness and providing comprehensive care. “Seeing the impact of MND on my dad’s life has given me a unique perspective and a deep commitment to helping others facing this disease. The support we provide at Pendleside is not just about medical care; it’s about holistic, compassionate care that addresses the emotional, psychological, and practical needs of our patients and their families.”

Diane Herbert and Her Dog, Teddy

There is no cure for MND and six people in the UK are diagnosed with the disease every day. If you or someone you know is seeking support for Motor Neurone Disease or any other neurological condition, Pendleside Hospice is here to help. Make a referral today, or give us a call on 01282 440 100 to learn more about our services.

Additionally, further support and guidance can be found on the MND Association website.