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Developing a breathlessness booklet

By Carol Davies, Nevill Hall Hospital

Category: Diagnosis and Initial Needs

The problem identified

Lung cancer patients expressed the need for an easy to use breathlessness aid; they reported when breathless, fatigued and anxious, they find reading breathlessness information overwhelming and confusing.

The intervention made to change the problem

The aim was to develop an easy to use breathlessness aid. An A5 four page booklet was produced; this has since been updated to include a multidisciplinary approach. Information remains, as intended simplistic but is comprehensive. It includes breathing control, anxiety techniques/management, breathing techniques and pacing.

How it changed my practice

The revised A5 booklet has since been used by patients and a number of multi-disciplinary teams. Feedback remains very positive. It suggests patients feel more equipped to cope with their breathless. They report it has helped them cope with pacing themselves and controlling breathing when using the stairs. Others enjoy the choice of breathing techniques and tips for managing activities in and out of the home. Initially the booklet was distributed by the Macmillan lung CNS and palliative care team which includes consultant, CNS's and healthcare support workers. Interest in this breathlessness aid was expressed from a variety of specialities and hospitals within Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. The breathlessness leaflet is now available on intranet so that all personnel withinABUHB can access this information. The booklet has also proven useful for non-cancer patients.


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