Support for lung patients

People who took part in Northumbria Healthcare's health trainer programme.
People who took part in Northumbria Healthcare's health trainer programme.

A therapeutic exercise programme is helping people with a serious lung disease to manage their condition.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust provides support through its health trainer programmes for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The seven-week health trainer programme is available at the trust’s Healthy Living Centres at Meadowell and Dudley.

The programme includes individual exercise plans, disease education, nutrition advice and psychological and behavioural therapy.

David Chambers, who has COPD and spondylosis, said: “They start you off slowly with exercise and build you up which helps in the long run. The health trainers are a great help and support.

“I’ve been taught the correct breathing technique, which I didn’t know before, so if I get panicky or tense I do my breathing exercises and it’s making life easier.”

For more information contact the Healthy Living Centres at Meadowell on (0191) 270 4510/3, Dudley on 643 2860 or Moor Park on 257 6051.

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Overall patient feedback shows people with COPD are able to manage their condition better at home as a result of the health trainer programme.

Improvements to cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, endurance and patients’ psychological wellbeing are also evident.

People with COPD may experience difficulty breathing. The symptoms of the disease include shortness of breath and a cough that won’t go away, both of which may get worse during winter.

Breathing difficulties found with COPD are caused by long-term damage to the lungs, usually caused by smoking.

Liam Darling-Cooper, a health trainer at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Our aim is to support COPD patients to improve their health and fitness, therefore resulting in making daily living tasks easier, such as walking, and also helping to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and GP appointments.

“Patients tell us because their breathing improves their anxiety levels are reduced and they are more confident in managing their illness at home.