New clinic helps patients manage their breathlessness

6th Nov 2014

PATIENTS across Sandwell and West Birmingham who suffer with fatigue, anxiety and breathlessness are being helped by a new six week pilot clinic (F.A.B.) which has been established to help them manage their symptoms.

The pilot clinic is a collaborative venture between the Specialist Palliative Care Team, Respiratory and ICares from  Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.

The team recognised that some patients were suffering more because of their anxiety about their symptoms, which in turn leads to increased attendance at A&E departments and even admittance to hospital.

The clinic is specifically being piloted for those people who need to have help to manage their symptoms and use relaxation techniques, pacing and other self management skills to lessen their symptoms and empower them to feel in control of their breathing. It is a holistic approach where we address symptoms not conditions.

Patient Valerie Davies agrees: “I have been attending the clinic for the last three weeks and it has been very, very helpful to me. It has taught me a lot about relaxation and given me the information I need to relax and not let my worry about feeling breathless make my symptoms worse. Being in control means I can manage myself and don’t need to go to A&E or see the doctor.

“I have especially enjoyed the talks I have attended, with the one by Diana Webb (Palliative Care Consultant) being very good.”

The clinic is run out of Bradbury House Day Hospice and is an excellent example of integrated working as it is run by Dr Diana Webb, Palliative Medicine Consultants, Linda Parkes, Heart Clinical Nurse Specialist, Respiratory Physiotherapist Ruth Morrey and Occupational Therapist Cathy Carmody-Heaton. The clinicians are members of the acute and community services working in different teams, but have come together to provide a one-stop shop for patients who need their help.

Kelly Redden-Rowley, who heads up the community respiratory team of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust said: “This is a first for the people of Sandwell, who are already able to access our highly regarded Community Pulmonary Rehabilitation Service. Kate Hall, Palliative and End of Life Care Manager said “The pilot will be extended out to patients with other conditions to show patients how to manage their fatigue, anxiety or breathlessness so they can concentrate on living fuller lives and participate in activities that are important to them.”

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