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Therapy team launch new Relax and Breathe course

Monday 15th August

  • The Lantern
  • News

Relax and Breathe is a new course launched by the specialist physios and occupational therapists (OTs) which can be offered to patients at Farleigh once they have been assessed by one of the therapists. It is aimed at patients who may have conditions, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis and heart failure among others, that experience breathlessness as one of their symptoms.

Here, Therapy Assistant, Angela Chandler, shares an insight into the six-week course which takes a person-centred and holistic approach to supporting patients to manage their symptoms, helping to improve their well being and independence.

"Throughout the pandemic, the physios, OTs and therapy assistants continued to support patients in their own homes, however, we understood the value and impact of the face-to-face group sessions we were previously able to offer to patients and their families."

Angela Chandler - Therapy Assistant.

Patients would share with us that they missed having the opportunity to interact with people who were going through a similar experience. Many also said they knew what they were supposed to be doing but had lost their confidence during the pandemic.

When the opportunity arose to begin group work again, we bought all our knowledge and expertise together to devise a new holistic programme. It not only teaches patients and their carers the skills to manage their symptoms at home, but also creates a platform for them to share experiences and develop a network of peers.

Patients are invited to bring someone to attend with them - this could be a relative or a friend or anyone who they feel can support them on their journey. This benefits both the patient and carer: the carer gets peer support from others in a similar situation and also learns the techniques taught to the patient and the rationale behind them, so they can actively support patients to use these skills at home.

The course is purposely named' Relax and Breathe' as we know that anxiety can exacerbate breathlessness so by managing anxiety it can help reduce the sensation of breathlessness.

It is a six-week, multi-disciplinary programme, with each week having a specific focus. The introductory session focuses on looking at the whole person and identifying their individual needs. We then have individual sessions with professionals and staff across Farleigh including a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, the Chaplain and a member of the medical team. We also have a family support session for the patient's carers.

The feedback from patients and their families has been very positive. Some have said that they didn't think they could learn anything that would help them, but they have. Others have said that receiving support and getting to know lots of different professionals from Farleigh has built their confidence.

The course is completely focused on teaching patients the skills to manage their symptoms independently and empowering their carers to support them with this.

"Learning the different techniques has really made an impact as to how breathless I feel."

"Knowing you are not alone has really helped change my views on things."

Quotes from patients attending the current course.