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Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) is an exercise and education programme for patients diagnosed with a chronic respiratory condition. The programme is run by specialist physiotherapists, but additional support is provided by respiratory nurses and dieticians during the education sessions. PR is widely regarded as an essential treatment for patients with a variety of breathing conditions, and is designed to improve your general health, physical ability and emotional well-being.
Patients with moderate to severe breathing problems (e.g. breathless on climbing stairs) usually see the greatest benefit from PR. It helps patients to understand more about their condition and develop self confidence, which allows them to manage their condition effectively.
So give it a try - PR does not make you worse. It should make you feel better, breathe easier and help you cope with everyday life.
To attend Pulmonary Rehabilitation, patients must fulfill the following criteria:
- Have a respiratory diagnosis such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Bronchiectasis or Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD).
- Find themselves limited by breathlessness (e.g. climbing stairs or walking up a slight hill).
A referral can be made by your GP or hospital consultant, hospital staff, respiratory/practice nurse or community matron.
For more information about PR referrals you can contact us directly on 0151 514 2244 and speak to one of the team.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) is run 2 times a week for 6 weeks. Each session consists of 1 hour exercise and 1 hour of education. The programmes are available at the following venues:-
Arrowe Park Hospital, Physiotherapy department.
Monday's and Thursday's from 2.00pm to 4.00pm.
Clatterbridge Hospital, Physiotherapy department.
Monday's and Thursday's from 11.00am to 1.00pm.
Albert Lodge (Victoria Central Hospital).
Tuesday's and Friday's from 11.00am to 1.00pm
St Catherines Hospital, Heart Support Unit.
Monday's and Wednesday's from 10.15am to 12.15pm
Our target waiting time from referral to assessment is 10 weeks. Currently the waiting times for the venues are as follows:-
Arrowe Park Hospital - 10 weeks
Clatterbridge Hospital - 4 weeks
Albert Lodge, Victoria Central Hospital - 3 weeks
St Catherines Hospital - 13 weeks
The first assessment lasts for half an hour. A specialised physiotherapist will have a discussion with you and ask you questions about your condition, any relevant past medical history and talk about what medication you take (inhalers & tablets). Your resting oxygen reading and pulse will be taken as well as blood pressure.
The 2nd part involves completing a questionnaire and a walking test.
The walking test. We carry out a walking test with every assessment. This is to give us an initial recording of your exercise capacity and we also test your heart rate and oxygen reading during the test to ensure you're safe to complete the exercises. The walking test and questionnaire is also completed at the end of the programme.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation classes are welcoming and friendly. Each session is led by a specialist physiotherapist who is happy to answer any questions you may have. Everything will be explained and demonstrated so that you feel comfortable and safe. At all times during the exercise you are monitored closely by the physiotherapist and assistant.
The class begins with a gentle 'warm-up' for a couple of minutes.
You'll then complete a range of different exercises to help improve your fitness at a level that suits your own needs. The exercises include:-
- Exercise bike
- Step ups
- Ball throw
- Arm curls
At the end of the exercise period a 'cool-down' is completed.
Don't worry if you have other health problems that you think might stop you from exercising. The physiotherapist has lots of experience in adapting exercises for patients with various medical conditions.
The education part of the programme is very important. It will help you to understand how to manage your condition so that you can live a more active and fulfilling life. The talks are given by physiotherapists, nurses, dieticians and other members of staff linked to the NHS.
The topics covered include:-
- Anatomy and Physiology - How the lungs work and what they look like
- What is COPD & other respiratory conditions?
- Sputum clearance - How to effectively clear sputum from the lungs
- Managing breathlessness - Advice and guidance
- Respiratory medications - What do the inhalers and tablets do
- Inhaler technique - How to best use inhalers
- Early warning signs of chest infection and what to do
- The benefits of exercise
The education takes place following the exercise session and refreshments are provided.
At the end of the 6 weeks, hopefully you'll be fitter, stronger and more confident with managing your condition.
A re-assessment is completed. This involves repeating the walking test and questionnaires you completed at the first assessment. You will be provided with a self management and a home exercise programme.
Information is given about maintenance exercise classes available to patients who have completed Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Currently there are 9 weekly sessions around the Wirral. They are at the following locations on these days and times:
Oxton, St Saviours church hall - Mondays and Thursdays 11.00 - 12.15,
Wallasey, Pouton Vics social club - Wednesday and Thursday 11.00 - 13.00,
Bebington, Victoria Hall - Monday and Friday 11.15 - 13.00,
Greasby, Greasby Community Centre - Tuesday and Thursdays 12.45 - 14.00.
Tranmere, Tranmere Rovers Football Club - Tuesday 13:30 - 14:30
An additional group meets in Moreton once a week at the Moreton Community Centre.
This group is called Wirral lung exercise group and meets every Thursdays 12.30 - 14.00.
When a patient has a long-term breathing problem, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or another lung condition, they can find it difficult to do their normal daily activities without getting breathless. They may also find that they get tired very easily and often feel exhausted.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) is designed to help the patient cope with being short of breath and feel stronger and fitter at the same time.
Getting out of breath can be very frightening, which can make breathing worse. In trying to avoid this, people often reduce the amount of activity they do. However, this does not help, as over time they become unfit, tired and even more breathless. PR can help by breaking that cycle.
It is normal for everyone, including athletes, to be short of breath when exercising, but this is part of the therapy. A patient will always be monitored and will never be asked to do more than their physiotherapist thinks they can or more than is safe and possible for them.
The people who do best from PR are likely to be those who really want to help themselves, who want to learn and who have a positive attitude.
Comments from Pulmonary Rehabilitation attendees -
Arrowe Park Class
"I can honestly say I can feel the benefits both physically and mentally."
"The Pulmonary Rehabilitation course is excellent. It is very beneficial with exercise and formative talks. It improves our future lives."
"Really helpful exercise and extremely helpful with education about medications and how to use them."
"Really helpful, told me things I didnt know. Staff are really helpful with time for you if you require information."
Albert Lodge, Victoria Central Hospital Class
"I would recommend this service because of the help and advice I have received myself."
"Brilliant dedicated staff who have definitely improved my quality of life. I'm very grateful and thankful."
"I just wish I could come every week. Thank you, I really have been helped. I don't feel so helpless."
Please find some helpful information you can download for yourselves below:
Home Exercise Programme - A few ideas about exercises you can try at home.
Education Sumary Sheet - A brief summary of some of the important education sessions.
Active Cycle of Breathing Technique - Breathing exercises you can complete to help breathlessness control and sputum clearance.
You are welcome to bring a family member or friend along to the sessions. They will not be able to take part in the exercise session but are more than welcome to listen to the education talks.
The first part is exercise therefore clothes that you feel comfortable in, loose fitting trousers, flat comfortable shoes (doesn't have to be sports trainers) and a t-shirt / jumper.
We advise you to have something to eat and drink before you come to the class. We do provide water at each venue but feel free to bring a drink of your choice to keep refreshed. We also ask that you always have you blue (reliever) inhaler present at the class if you have one (just incase).