Skip to content

Novel delivery models for pulmonary rehabilitation programmes

Chronic lung conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are a huge burden to health and social care services in the UK.  Pulmonary rehabilitation is a life-changing, highly evidenced intervention for this patient group and is a fundamental element of standard respiratory care. It comprises a multi-disciplinary delivered programme of exercise and self-management education, provided over 6-8 weeks of twice-weekly group therapy.  Despite the highly evidenced benefits, these benefits start to decay after around 12 months. Programme uptake and completion is also a huge issue with research identifying a wide range of barriers.  Some of these barriers could potentially be addressed by providing more person–centred, diverse, accessible and flexible models of pulmonary rehabilitation and the NHS 10 year plan indicates that such models need to be tested and implemented in the UK.

At University of Gloucestershire we have developed a collaboration with Gloucestershire pulmonary rehabilitation service, having completed and published research into the efficacy of digital pulmonary rehabilitation. The Gloucester city programme is now delivered at Oxstalls campus utilising our new therapy rooms and delivery input from a lecturer who is specialised in pulmonary rehabilitation. This mode of delivery enables students from MSc modules (physiotherapy and ACP) to use the sessions as an adjunct to their respiratory, health assessment and research studies, enabling them to participate practically in the work we are carrying out under supervision of course tutors. Patient outcome data from the campus programme is favourable, demonstrating equivalence to standard community pulmonary rehabilitation venues.

Our next project is to explore the feasibility of a diverse model of pulmonary rehabilitation with low to moderate-intensity physical activity as its cornerstone a feasible programme option. The delivery model addresses intensely the psycho-social dysfunction experienced by participants with chronic respiratory conditions. We intend to increase NHS/HEI collaboration in pulmonary rehabilitation research in the future in order to create more flexible, patient-centred models of delivery. 

quote icon

By Dr Elaine Bevan-Smith

link icon

This research forms part of the Health, Life Sciences, Sport & Wellbeing research priority area.