17 April 2014
Waiting times at a pulmonary rehabilitation clinic offered by the Health and Social Services Department (HSSD) have been dramatically improved thanks to extra funding being allocated, meaning patients suffering from respiratory problems can get the specialist help they need sooner.
The waiting time for the clinic has reduced from 14 months to 12 weeks. Data gathered from the pulmonary rehabilitation clinics show that, apart from illness, patients are not dropping out of the clinics and their health is improving.
Reducing the waiting times for the pulmonary rehabilitation clinics is part of the work HSSD are currently undertaking redesigning services to better cater for the changing health and social care needs of the Jersey population, following the Green Paper and the White Paper which Islanders were consulted on in 2011 and 2012.
Long term condition focus
Respiratory disease is one of long term conditions being focused on as part of the service redesign work, and extra funding was given following a business case put forward so more Islanders could be seen and benefit from the sessions.
76 patients have now started the pulmonary rehabilitation programme and there are 27 people on the waiting list. Around 12 patients attend each session, twice a week, and the programme is 8 weeks long.
The pulmonary rehabilitation classes, run at Springfield Stadium by HSSD physiotherapists, are open to patients who have been referred to the department who have lung conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis and bronchiectasis.
Physiotherapist Louise Woodland said “There is a huge wealth of evidence from research conducted both in the UK and worldwide supporting the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation programmes to both the patients themselves and the resulting reduced impact on health resources."
Patients who take a walking test known as a “shuttle test” shows that 70% of people who attend the clinic achieve a significant improvement and most other people achieve some degree of improvement. 80% of people go on to other exercise programmes.
She added “We are very pleased with the patient feedback we’ve had from the pulmonary rehabilitation clinics. People who attend them report a range of benefits including reduced breathlessness, improved emotional wellbeing and better understanding of their condition. What’s really pleasing is that 80 per cent of people who attend report reduced fatigue.”
As a result of the improved waiting times and the pulmonary rehabilitation programme, one patient said he is now able to clean his windows for the first time in a long time, "I had been too breathless to consider doing them before I started rehab".
Another said, "I used to wait at the bottom of the multi-storey car park for my friend to drive down and pick me up. Now I walk up the stairs to the car every time. I don't even use the lift".