The online service, developed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s (NHSGGC) Respiratory Physiotherapy service, provides patients with a suite of medical videos to help them visualise their illness and follow step-by-step guides to manage their condition at home.

It’s the first time the method has been used within Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and following positive feedback from patients and clinicians, it’s hoped the resource can be used as part of treatment plans for a much wider range of respiratory illnesses across the country.

Bronchiectasis is a long-term condition where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened. This can lead to a build-up of excess mucus causing a chronic cough which makes lungs more vulnerable to infection if the mucus is not cleared effectively. Greater numbers of patients are now diagnosed with bronchiectasis following detailed lung scans. Current estimates suggest 1 in 1000 people in the UK have the condition.

The condition is gaining greater recognition because of UK and European guidelines outlining best treatments to help relieve symptoms. The foundation of care includes clearing excess mucus from the lungs using targeted breathing exercises and special devices taught by specialist respiratory physiotherapists.

The videos will play a key role in helping patients understand their condition, with demonstrations of simple techniques to clear mucus and look after themselves. The Scottish Government promotes self-management for long term conditions and the videos allow patients and their families to use the videos as treatment reminders, which can be revisited at any time.

Developed by advanced and specialist respiratory physiotherapists within NHSGGC, the resource was funded by the Scottish Government’s Technology Enabled Care programme, which aims to support new ways of using technology to improve the health and wellbeing for individuals in a home or community setting. In keeping with these developments, the Respiratory Physiotherapy service is also offering video consultations as an alternative to travelling to hospital for face-to-face consultations.

Pamela Vaughn, advanced specialist physiotherapist in Respiratory Medicine at NHSGGC, said:

“Bronchiectasis is a condition which can be difficult for patients to understand and manage. These videos make it much easier for patients to visualise it, and more importantly, to manage it. They act as a simple to use reminder of the different techniques available to clear the airways and because our own specialists developed them, they complement patient consultations and care programmes within NHSGGC.

“We find utilising videos to engage with patients is a valuable tool to empower people to manage their condition from the comfort of their homes and within their communities. Delivering person centred care is at the heart of every decision we take and the new resource plays well into to this approach. Feedback from patients so far has been overwhelmingly positive and we’ll certainly be exploring other ways to develop videos for other conditions which help us continue to deliver safe and effective care to patients.”

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