A new support group for patients with conditions that affect the upper airways – such as persistent coughs – launched at Royal Brompton Hospital this month.
Hosted by Dr Julia Selby, clinical lead voice and respiratory speech and language therapist, and speech and language therapists Beth Tidmarsh and Emma Bailey, ‘The Voice of Upper Airway’ group will meet several times a year to hear the about the latest treatments and advice on managing their conditions.
Members will also be able to share and potentially learn from each other’s personal experiences, and provide feedback about their care.
Dr Selby said: “Most of the patients in the group have incredibly debilitating coughing fits on a regular basis. These can make it hard to carry out even the most basic daily tasks. Some even end up in hospital requiring urgent care – with clinicians unsure about the proper method of treatment for their condition.
“GPs can often misdiagnose these patients’ conditions as they can vary so much. Patients can end up feeling confused, and isolated or alone with their condition. To be able to meet up and discuss their experiences with others is hugely beneficial.
“I am hugely pleased that we’ve been able to get this project off the ground: these patients are central to our care, and it’s been amazing because we’ve been able to include them in shaping how the group is run.”
Group member Florest Cambran from Wallington, South London, said: “I find myself gasping for breath and I’ve ended up hospitalised on numerous occasions. Even though I am an intensive care nurse and used to helping others, when you can’t breathe yourself it is absolutely terrifying.
“I have been following prescribed speech and language exercises, which have really helped, but I’m looking forward to getting more support from this group.”
Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals are world leaders in the diagnosis, management and treatment of lung disease.