Background Whilst our established support for people living with breathlessness was long-standing, it was not multidisciplinary or fully evidence-based. We wanted to address this for the benefit of patients and the wider health system. The Cambridge Breathlessness Intervention Service (CBIS) model is an evidence-based approach to support people living with advanced lung conditions to manage their breathlessness (Higginson, Bausewein, Reilly, et al., 2014). Consultation with service users suggested that patients wanted support to: manage breathlessness, improve mental wellbeing, mobility and symptom management as well as help with planning ahead and reducing isolation.
Aims To implement and evaluate a breathlessness intervention using a multidisciplinary skill mix and trained community volunteers.
Methods Using the CBIS model as a framework, we reshaped, redeployed and trained our team to deliver this intervention at home. We supplemented this with a layer of social support provided by experienced compassionate neighbour volunteers. We evaluated the impact of the intervention through: before and after breathlessness self-rating scales, interviews with patients and case studies documenting the use of different parts of the service (e.g. physiotherapist, nurse, occupational therapist, rehabilitation assistant, complementary therapy).
Results This project has been delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic, so there were practical issues around seeing patients face-to-face, and we were unable to support as many as expected. To date, 28 patients have been referred to the service. Of these, 18 received input. We will report on changes in self-rating scores and feedback from interviews with patients and families. To date, only a few participants opted to have a compassionate neighbour.
Conclusions Initial findings suggest that although delivery of this project was hampered by the pandemic, patients valued the service and benefitted from practical input from the MDT. Limitations on being able to provide face-to-face support may have influenced uptake of compassionate neighbours and reduced the number of patients seen.
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