Pulmonary rehabilitation – an essential part of respiratory care
Thousands of hospital admissions for respiratory patients could be avoided if all those eligible for pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) completed a programme, and yet uptake remains poor. Here Heather Henry outlines what PR has to offer and how to make a referral
Offering people with long term respiratory disease pulmonary rehabilitation is part of good long term condition management general practice nurses. This article explains why it is important, what it includes, the referral criteria and how GPNs may support people on completion.
In the UK, 1 in 5 people have a respiratory illness and it is the 3rd biggest cause of death (NHS England, 2019). Not unexpectedly therefore, tackling respiratory disease is not only a huge issue in primary care but also a national clinical priority that features in the NHS Long Term Plan (NHS England, 2019) and the Quality and Outcomes Framework (NHS England, 2023).
An estimated 26,000 hospital admissions could be avoided if every eligible person completed a PR programme (Taskforce for Lung Health, online), yet only 13% of those people eligible for PR service receive it (Royal College of Physicians, 2017) and the average completion rate in England is only 67%, with wide geographic variation. Given that picture of low uptake and variable completion rates to something that could really benefit patients, referral to and liaison with a local (PR) service is therefore an essential part of the practice nursing respiratory service.
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