A web-based rehabilitation programme developed by a team of experts in Leicester has granted free access to other health organisations for up to four months to help support patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
The offer from Leicester’s Hospitals comes during Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week (15-22 June 2020). Pulmonary rehabilitation is supervised exercise training, health education and breathing techniques aimed at people with a range of lung conditions. During the pandemic access to pulmonary rehabilitation for people with conditions such as COPD who have been classed as particularly vulnerable to the virus has been more important than ever.
So far, SPACE for COPD has received over 170 enquires from trusts around the UK since being made freely available in March. The Leicester team has been able to set up 64 trusts with the online programme.
The programme allows patients to manage their rehabilitation at their own pace and contains a range of educational topics to help patients understand their condition better, such as information on medication, exercise and nutritional advice. Patients are also encouraged to set goals and track their experience.
Sally Singh, Head of Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation at Leicester’s Hospitals and a professor at the University of Leicester said:
“Rehabilitation programmes often involve multiple face-to-face visits in hospitals or other healthcare settings. However, current government guidance recommends shielding for people in at risk groups, making these trips inadvisable as they increase the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. We are proud to be able to offer our online programmes for free to other organisations so patients can continue with their rehabilitation in their own homes and still maintain social distancing during the pandemic.”
The team also has a second online rehabilitation programme, called ‘Activate Your Heart’ available for those with conditions such as coronary heart disease. So far, the team has set up 76 trusts to use the programme within their clinical services.
The programme was cited in the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) five point plan to achieve the biggest impact for people with, or at risk of, heart and circulatory diseases (https://www.bhf.org.uk/what_we_do/influencing_change/turning_back_the_tide/). It is also available to trusts in the UK for free during the pandemic.
Patients can contact their healthcare professional to see if they have already got access to the programmes. Healthcare providers interested in providing these programmes for patients can get in contact via the following websites:
SPACE for COPD – https://www.spaceforcopd.co.uk/contact
Activate Your Heart – https://www.activateyourheart.org.uk/contact
The development and roll out of these online rehabilitation programmes is supported by the Leicester Biomedical Research Centre.