Prison invites physio to run regular pulmonary rehab course for inmates

A physiotherapist has been asked to provide ongoing pulmonary rehab to people in prison, following a successful pilot project that provided clinical and cost benefits.


Pulmonary specialist physio Louise Goswell will run the courses

Pulmonary specialist physio Louise Goswell led a two-month pilot over the summer at Littlehey, a category C prison in Perry, Cambridgeshire.

The course ran from June until August, with two sessions a week of supervised exercise and education about self-management techniques, and was attended by 20 men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Ms Goswell told Frontline the ‘outcomes were excellent’, and added: ‘They all got fitter and their anxiety and depression scores improved. And they all wanted to continue with a form of exercise, which was really good as they hadn’t done much exercise for the last 20 years, due to the fear caused by their breathlessness.’

Since the pilot, the prison has offered Ms Goswell, a respiratory physiotherapist at Cambridge and Peterborough Trust, a private contract to provide further courses of pulmonary rehab to inmates with COPD.

‘The research supporting pulmonary rehab shows that if COPD patients are fitter and better educated about their condition, their admission rates and exacerbation rates decrease,’ said Ms Goswell.

‘And the incentive for the prison is that every time one of their patients goes into hospital it costs them £1,000 a day just for security.

‘So there is a big drive within prison healthcare to reduce patients going into hospital.’

Author: Robert Millett


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