Patients with breathing problems are being encouraged to attend specialist exercise classes to reduce the risk of them being admitted to hospital.
Pulmonary rehabilitation classes have proven so popular that more are now being introduced at several venues across the South Tees area.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s physiotherapy team has secured £300,000 from South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to extend the number of groups available.
Previously the service was only able to accommodate up to 150 patients a year but the additional funding means it can now benefit as many as 1,200.
Staff numbers have increased from four to 10 enabling sessions to take place at various venues across the area including The James Cook University Hospital, One Life and Redcar, East Cleveland and Guisborough primary care hospitals.
The seven-week programme includes a mixture of gentle exercise and education. Participants meet twice a week to complete a circuit of exercises such as walking on a treadmill or lifting a gym ball under the watchful eyes of the physiotherapy team.
Patients can also learn more about their different lung conditions and how they can manage them at home.
Rebecca Shea, lead physiotherapist for the pulmonary rehabilitation service said: “The main aim of the service is to get patients to self-manage whatever condition they are going through.
“It’s about providing support, education and encouragement to give patients confidence in their own ability and to improve their quality of life. It also helps people avoid any unnecessary hospital admissions.”
Anyone with an obstructive lung condition such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, bronchiectasis and those awaiting lung transplants can be referred to the group by their GP or practice nurse.
The funding was made available by South Tees CCG as part of its IMProVE (Integrated Management and Proactive Care for the Vulnerable and Elderly)
programme to help increase respiratory care in the community and reduce hospital admissions.
Dr Mike Milner, one of South Tees CCG governing body members said: “We are now referring more patients with COPD for rehabilitation at an early stage as it is proving essential to recovery and improving breathlessness.
“By having easily accessible services available in our local communities, more patients are likely to attend enabling them to manage their lung condition more effectively.”
Here’s what our patients think…
- “It’s easy gentle exercise but it’s very beneficial,” said Moira McClure of Coulby Newham.
- “I feel 10 times better when I walk out of here,” said Maureen Henderson of Middlesbrough.
- “When I first started I could not even walk from the car park so it has definitely been beneficial.” said Stephen Dee of Acklam.