Chronic breathlessness leads to a decline in a patient's activity levels, an increased dependence on others for help, as well as feelings of isolation. Chronic breathlessness often leaves patients and those close to them feeling worried and helpless.
People with chronic breathlessness can have sudden and unexpected increases in their breathlessness, called 'breathlessness attacks'. These attacks can be very frightening, for patients and those close to them, and many people seek help during an attack from emergency services.
Breathlessness support services for patients with chronic breathlessness have been shown to improve patients' self-management and reduce their distress. However, access to such services is limited.
What is the aim of this study?
In this study, ARC palliative and end of life care researchers, led by NIHR clinical lecturer and consultant physiotherapist in chronic respiratory disease, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Charles Reilly, will seek to answer: is it feasible and acceptable to offer a breathlessness support online?
The study is based around SELF-BREATHE, a self-guided, internet-based intervention for patients with chronic breathlessness. The intervention has two components focusing on: acute and chronic breathlessness management, underpinned by interventions including breathing control, fan therapy, and relaxation techniques.
Patients experiencing chronic breathlessness will be able to accesses both these self-management components within two weeks, and then implement suggested interventions – for example, daily breathing control exercises, whole-body strengthening exercises, pacing and recovery breathing.
Interactive components of the SELF-BREATHE intervention encourage patients to monitor their own progress and will help to establish these techniques within a patient’s day-to-day life.