Physios win excellence award for integrated pulmonary and heart failure rehab

A physiotherapy team in Leicestershire was celebrating after winning an award for an innovative integrated rehab scheme, which has helped to cut waiting times for patients.


Members of the winning physio team from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, with their Excellence/Innovation award

Seven physiotherapists and three physio assistants from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust were presented with an Excellent Idea/Innovation award from their trust on 21 April.

The team deliver community-based exercise classes to help rehabilitate people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and those with heart failure. The project enables the two groups of patients to exercise together and then separate for disease-specific education.

It started as a 12-month pilot in 2014, but showed such positive outcomes that the team have continued to offer integrated rehab at three sites across Leicestershire, in Mitcham, Hinckley and Loughborough.

Respiratory physio Steven Jackson told Frontline: ‘Our team has delivered pulmonary rehab to COPD patients in the community for a number of years. We proposed running rehab programmes for heart failure patients too, who would otherwise have to go to the University Hospitals of Leicester for treatment, leading to longer waiting times.

‘Being integrated means we are working much closer to our heart failure nurses and providing a better quality of care to our patients, and it’s helped to cut our waiting list times for heart failure patients and pulmonary patients as well.’

Linking primary and secondary care

The integrated rehab classes last two hours, usually twice a week. In the first hour physios provide a mixed group of patients with exercises, while in the second hour patients receive information from a multidisciplinary team, including dieticians and respiratory and heart failure nurses.

Results from the pilot showed significant improvements in patients’ quality of life and exercise tolerance levels, with 99 per cent of service users 'strongly agreeing' they would recommend it to others.

Mr Jackson added that the service is bridging the gap between acute and community services.

‘And because qualified physios run the sessions it means we can meet any individual needs and address any comorbidities,’ he said.

‘So we are looking at the bigger picture and taking on board if they have back pain or neurological considerations, for example – and that’s one of the reasons we won the award.’

Author: Robert Millett

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