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British Lung Foundation encouraging UK to ‘love your lungs’ as it prepares for the start of Breathe Easy Week on 18th June 2018

Written by Editorial Team, Donr

Published on Thursday, 14th June 2018

Breathe Easy Week runs from Monday 18th June to Sunday 24th and the charity behind it is hoping to encourage increased uptake of Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

2018’s annual lung health awareness week gets underway on Monday (18th June). The theme of the week is ‘love your lungs,’ and the British Lung Foundation is, this year, putting particular focus on Pulmonary Rehabilitation for people with a lung condition.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a programme of exercise and education for those with a long-term lung condition, delivered by a team of healthcare professionals including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and nurses. Courses typically consist of a specially designed programme of exercise, advice on managing lung conditions and symptoms and typically last between six and eight weeks. 

Unfortunately, these courses are patchy across the country. According to the British Lung Foundation, despite strong evidence demonstrating positive health benefits, Pulmonary Rehabilitation has extremely low referral, attendance and completion rates – so much so that the charity describes the numbers as ‘alarming.’

According the COPD Audit England and Wales 2015 (from the Royal College of Physicians), only 68,000 people were referred for Pulmonary Rehabilitation, out of a total of almost 500,000 who met the eligibility criteria.

Follow up statistics do not make for particularly positive reading either: only 42% of those who were referred completed their course while, of those who were referred, 37% had to wait longer than three months to start their treatment.

The British Lung Foundation says that courses of Pulmonary Rehabilitation are generally enjoyed by attendees who find they build confidence and have fun meeting others in similar situations. The charity is hoping to use the increased focus on lung health during Breathe Easy Week to encourage increased uptake of Pulmonary Rehabilitation.