A new out-patient exercise and education programme designed to improve the quality of life of patients with chronic respiratory disorders has begun at Merlin Park Hospital.
The pulmonary rehabilitation programme is geared for patients referred by respiratory physicians at Galway University Hospitals (Merlin Park and University Hospital Galway ) and will help to reduce hospital admissions and improve the lives of participants.
Chronic respiratory conditions are very common in Ireland. The recently-published INHALE report from the Irish Thoracic Society states that respiratory disorders are the third most commonly reported long-term illness group in Ireland and that respiratory disease causes one in five deaths.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD ) includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD treatments (including inhalers and steroids ) aim to improve lung function. However, the HSE West says it is becoming increasingly recognised that interventions aimed at improving the functional status and overall wellbeing of patients are also very important.
Katherine Finan, a respiratory consultant at Galway University Hospitals, says pulmonary rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary programme of care for patients with chronic respiratory conditions.
The recently launched programme at Merlin Park Hospital hopes to provide an enthusiastic and innovative programme for Galway people, explains a spokesperson for the HSE West.
“The programme has two principle strands. The first is supervised twice-weekly exercise sessions which are designed to improve muscle function and fitness. The participants are also asked to complete exercises at home between visits.
“The second strand is education. This gives participants an understanding of how the lungs work and where the shortness of breath comes from, and how best to avoid and deal with it. Niamh Duignan, physiotherapist; Miriam Geehan, a clinical nurse specialist as well as doctors, pharmacists and occupational therapists conduct the sessions.”