Pulmonary rehabilitation is an exercise and educational programme designed to help patients with limiting symptoms caused by respiratory conditions such as COPD. The aim of pulmonary rehabilitation is to improve patients’ exercise tolerance and functional independence. There is a strong (Grade A) evidence base to support this.
People with respiratory conditions often have other medical problems and exercise can help with many of these as well, including diabetes, anxiety and depression, and high blood pressure.
The pulmonary rehabilitation team includes a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a dietitian, speech and language therapist, a pharmacist, a clinical psychologist and a rehabilitation assistant. The team is supported by the respiratory consultant to ensure that patients receive multidisciplinary and holistic care.
At the first visit, two members of the team will review each patient’s medical history, medication and current level of fitness, and assess if there are any musculoskeletal problems that may require further advice. If needed, we provide referrals for musculoskeletal problems or breathing pattern disorders to support specific patients through the programme.
The pulmonary rehabilitation programme runs over eight weeks. Patients attend twice weekly (Monday and Thursday afternoons or Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings) and the sessions take place at two different sites – the second-floor physiotherapy gym in Fulham wing and at Imperial College London's gym near the Science Museum in South Kensington, London.
Patients will receive individualised exercise programmes suitable for their level of fitness. Alongside the exercises, there are educational sessions encompassing all aspects of respiratory care. This includes breathing techniques, managing anxiety, relaxation, medicines management, self-management plans and home exercise plans.
The level of exercise is increased gradually over the course of the programme and as patients become fitter. This means that, by the end of the programme, patients should be less breathless and better equipped to cope with their normal daily activities.
We encourage patients to continue with an exercise programme at home after they have completed the course in order to maintain the benefits achieved.
The pulmonary rehabilitation team will review the progress of patients six or 12 months after they have completed the programme.
Who should be referred?
All patients with limiting breathlessness (MRC dyspnea score of 3/5 or higher) due to their chronic respiratory disease. (An MRC score of 3 corresponds to “walking slower than contemporaries or having to stop because of breathlessness when walking at own pace”) and patients who have had a recent hospital admission with an exacerbation.
How can patients be referred?
To refer a patient, please complete the pulmonary rehabilitation referral form (pdf, 187KB) and return it to us via one of the following:
Fax: 020 7349 7775
Pulmonary rehabilitation team
Rehabilitation and therapies department
Royal Brompton Hospital
Also, see our information for patients on pulmonary rehabilitation
Pulmonary rehabilitation contact details
Physiotherapy exercise room, second floor, South Block (Fulham Wing), Royal Brompton Hospital
Telephone: 020 7351 8088
Fax: 020 7349 7778
Clinical lead: Dr Nicholas Hopkinson
Senior physiotherapist: Bhavin Mehta
(To contact Bhavin, please dial 020 7352 8121 and ask for bleep 1050)
PR referral form RBH (Excel, 187KB)