Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Changing Lives – Breathing Better

The AHSN-NENC in collaboration with British Lung Foundation and Newcastle Healthy Lungs has created the video “Changing Lives – Breathing Better” and accompanying case studies to promote the value of Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR).

Around 1 in 5 people in the UK will develop some form of lung disease during their lifetime accounting for over 700,000 hospital admissions each year.

PR is an essential and cost effective component in the management of patients with a chronic respiratory disease, demonstrating improvement in both exercise capacity and health and well being.

NICE Quality Standards for COPD (2016) recommend:

  • People with stable COPD and exercise limitation due to breathlessness are referred to a pulmonary rehabilitation programme
  • People admitted to hospital for an acute exacerbation of COPD start a pulmonary rehabilitation programme within 4 weeks of discharge.

Patients with other chronic respiratory conditions should also be considered for referral to PR.

The National COPD Audit Programme found that nationally only 15% of eligible patients were referred for PR. This is mirrored across the North East & North Cumbria, however in some parts of the region the referral rate is as low 4.2% with a completion rate of less than 2%.

The videos aim to provide an insight directly from a patient’s perspective into the benefits of PR and can be used as an educational tool for both patients and clinicians. A Resources for GPs and Healthcare Practitioners document has been prepared to provide advice on how the video resources might be used on practice websites, during patient consultations or on waiting room TV screens.

Patient Stories

 Wendy’s story


Ian’s story


 Tom’s story


Sue’s story


George’s story


The audit programme demonstrated:

  • 74% of participants saw general improvement in their respiratory health
  • 90% of participants found walking easier
  • PR has been shown to reduce readmission rates as patients learn more about their condition, enabling them to self-manage more effectively

An information sheet has been created that provides further evidence of the rationale for and the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation, including a list of references to sources that have been used in the development of this page:

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Information Sheet

Useful links: