This specialist service delivers a programme of education and exercise for adults in Ealing diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other chronic respiratory diseases, including the after effects of Covid-19.

About COPD

COPD is a lung disease that makes it harder to breathe. It includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Symptoms include breathlessness, cough and a tight chest. 

Read more about COPD on the NHS website or download the pulmonary rehabilitation patient information leaflet here.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary programme of care for patients with chronic respiratory impairment.

The service is for adults (over 18) who suffer from significant breathlessness, breathing pattern disorder, or who have a diagnosis of COPD or another progressive lung condition.

They must:

  • Be registered with an Ealing GP practice, and living (temporarily or permanently) within 1 mile of the boundaries of Ealing
  • Live within the boundaries of Ealing and not registered to a GP.

The programme offers:

  • Exercise training designed for each individual
  • Education and support to help people better manage their disease.

The service is delivered by a multidisciplinary team, which includes:

  • Respiratory nurse
  • Physiotherapist
  • Dietician
  • Psychologist.

The programme is a mixture of exercise and education that aims to help you:

  • Visit the hospital less often for treatment for acute lung problems
  • Be able to do more exercise and activity without becoming breathless
  • Improve your overall health and wellbeing
  • Give you the confidence to manage your conditions, talk to your GP and get treatment early
  • Stop smoking
  • Understand why the annual flu jab and other vaccinations are important.

Programmes run for 12 sessions over 6 weeks, with  a minimum of 2 hours of exercise each week, and 2 hours of education.

The group sessions are delivered in a variety of formats including face-to-face and online.

It’s important that you commit to coming to sessions to get the best out of the programme. If you can’t make a session, please let us know why, for example, if you’re ill. 

After the programme

At the end of the programme, you’ll get an assessment and evaluation of how you’ve improved. This will be shared with your GP, with a care plan.

You’ll also be given a self-management plan, with:

  • Advice on managing flare ups/exacerbations
  • Healthy lifestyle and goals to be maintained or achieved.

You’ll get an hour of advice from a specialist at each pulmonary rehabilitation programme session. This teaches you how to help manage your disease and get the most out of life. You’ll also get written information to take with you. 

Sessions include: 

  • Clearing your airway and controlling your breathing to help avoid hyperventilation (breathing too fast).
  • Understanding COPD/chronic respiratory diseases, their causes and treatment
  • How to improve confidence, self-efficacy (belief in your ability to succeed) and self-management
  • The roles of exercise and relaxation
  • Understanding your medicines
  • Managing an exacerbation and self-management plan, with advice on rescue medication
  • Psychological impacts and minimising their effects
  • How to manage breathlessness
  • Smoking and smoking cessation services, if appropriate
  • The benefits of regular physical activity and exercise and how to do safely and effectively
  • Advice about nutrition and eating, including nutritional supplements, where appropriate.

Half of each session will be devoted to individually tailored physical exercise training.

This will be a mixture of aerobic exercise and resistance training, which will become progressively more challenging. You’ll be supervised by a professional with experience of coaching people with respiratory conditions.

You’ll also be supported to find ways to exercise in your community.

Programmes run at sites and clinics across Ealing. We’ll let you know when and where to go in advance of your sessions.

You need to have an assessment to check that the pulmonary rehabilitation programme is right for you.

  • If you’re referred by your GP, district nurse or another professional in primary care, you should get an assessment within 6 weeks.
  • If you’re referred after leaving hospital after an exacerbation of COPD, you should get an initial assessment within 4 weeks.
The assessment

At the assessment, we will:

  • Check your general health
  • Ask if you smoke and how much
  • Test how well you’re breathing and how doing exercise affects your breathing.

If the assessment shows pulmonary rehabilitation is right for you, you should be able to start a programme within 6 weeks.

If pulmonary rehabilitation isn’t right for you, the team will tell your GP, (or whoever referred you) and let you know what to do next.

Get started

You’ll get exercise and lifestyle advice at your assessment, so you can start following this while you’re waiting for your first class.

You’ll also be given a self-management plan. This might include:

  • A check of your inhaler technique
  • Advice on how to identify a flare up/exacerbation and when to visit your GP, or start using your home rescue pack, if you have one
  • Considering a home rescue pack, which needs to be prescribed by your GP.

Referrals are accepted from primary care and acute hospitals.

All referrals should be made via

Telephone: 0300 123 4544

We aim for the time from referral to assessment to be no longer than 6 weeks and for the first class to start no later than 6 weeks following an initial assessment.