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  • Respiratory

Inspiring Patients to Manage Their Breathlessness

Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is an exercise and education programme designed for people with lung disease who experience symptoms of breathlessness. It focuses on tailored physical exercise and information that helps people to better understand and manage their condition/s and symptoms, including feeling short of breath.1

The substantial health benefits of non-pharmacological approaches such as PR programmes on patients are well documented.2 As such, it is one of the five fundamentals of COPD care and is also listed as a key intervention in the NHS Long Term Plan.1

Despite the importance of PR in the self-management of COPD, the National COPD Audit Programme’s PR Report reveals many patients are not being referred, and many patients (40%) do not complete the PR programme.2 It is therefore vital to understand more about the barriers to referral, as well as adherence to interventional programmes, in order to improve the management of COPD patients.

In this presentation Dr Jane Watson explores approaches to improve PR referrals and to encourage patients to be more proactive in managing their own health. There is also a patient’s perspective and personal experience of PR, sharing how PR impacted their overall disease and quality of life.


1. Pulmonary Rehabilitation. NHS England www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/clinical-policy/respiratory-disease/pulmonary-rehabilitation

2. The National COPD Audit Programme’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Report. Royal College of Physicians. Feb 2016 www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/pulmonary-rehabilitation-delivers-significant-health-benefits-too-many-patients-are-missing-out

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  • Dr Jane S Watson

    Respiratory Nurse Consultant

    Read biography