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For parents

What is the Medical Respiratory Physiotherapy service?

The Medical Respiratory Physiotherapy Service is a team of physiotherapists who will see patients that require physiotherapy due to a medical problem, surgical intervention or a respiratory complication.

What do we do?

We will assess and treat patients who are unable to cough and clear their own secretions. This will vary greatly depending on the patient's age and condition. Common conditions we are involved with are: Chest infections with over-production of mucus and difficulty clearing these secretions, Cystic Fibrosis (CF), Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD), Bronchiectasis and Neuromuscular Weakness.

We will assess and treat patients who require more specific rehabilitation following a neurological condition or sever illness. If prolonged rehabilitation is required, these patients may be moved to other wards.

We will assess patients with decreased mobility through illness or recent surgery and give advice or treat accordingly.

Some patients, may be well known to the physiotherapy team and already have a respiratory programme already. Often these programmes may need to be reviewed and altered whilst they are in hospital.

Will we see everyone?

Not every patient requires physiotherapy. Often a patient will be encouraged to mobilise and take deep breaths by the nursing staff, and no physiotherapist is needed. For those who may require more specialist rehabilitation, mobilisation or respiratory review - an assessment will be carried out to see whether physiotherapy will be beneficial.

It is important to note that not all respiratory conditions require physiotherapy input, and not every patient will benefit from physiotherapy techniques. In fact, in some cases the use of physiotherapy techniques might be detrimental (for example patients with bronchiolitis or a viral induced wheeze). In these cases the physiotherapist will discuss with the doctor the appropriateness of physiotherapy input.

What wards do we cover?

  • Ward 30a, 30b: Medical
  • Ward 31: Surgical
  • Ward 35: Adolescent
  • Some Medical Respiratory patients may find themselves on another wards, however they will not get missed as the Medical Respiratory Physiotherapists cover outliers throughout the whole hospital.

How are patients referred to the Medical Respiratory Physiotherapists?

During the working week (Monday to Friday), the ward physiotherapist will attend a morning handover on wards 30a, 30b and 35. Potential patients in need of physiotherapy input will be highlighted to the team. The wards physiotherapists will work closely with the doctors, nurses and other health professionals to ensure the best care for patients.

For patients on different wards, or new referrals during the day, patients will be referred via a bleep or telephone call to the physiotherapy department.

For patients who need urgent respiratory physiotherapy assessment and treatment out of normal working hours, a 24 hour on-call service is available. If a patient meets the urgent on-call criteria a senior doctor is able to contact the on-call physiotherapist, and if deemed appropriate, they will treat the patient ASAP.

What might physiotherapy involve?

Patients will be seen by an experienced physiotherapist who will go through an in depth assessment to get all the information required about the presenting condition. From this a treatment plan, utilising techniques outlined below, will be formulated and discussed with you and your child.

  • Education- It is important that you and your child understand what is causing the problems and how you can best help yourself to manage it.
  • Advice- Many conditions may not require treatment but advice on how to manage symptoms
  • Mobilisation- Often then best way of clearing the chest and ensuring the lungs are well inflated is to get out of bed and keep moving. Your physiotherapist will encourage you with this where appropriate.
  • Exercise rehabilitation- Doing an appropriate level of exercise will help resolve muscle weakness, improve balance problems, increase independent function and help to clear your lungs of sputum. This is usually carried out at the bed side, or alternatively during an activity in the play centre. We also have access to a gym for appropriate patients with a running machine, static bike and fun obstacle courses. If needed, equipment can be administered such as a walking aid.
  • Exercise Plan- You may be given exercises to do with your child outside of physiotherapy sessions, to continue the progress you are making.
  • Hydrotherapy- As an inpatient there is access to a hydrotherapy pool for rehabilitation. Access to this will depend upon a child's condition and their suitability for hydrotherapy.
  • Airway Clearance Programme/Equipment- Specific breathing exercises, blowing games, manual techniques and use of respiratory equipment will be used with patients who are struggling to get rid of their secretions. This will be tailored to each patient and clearly explained by the ward physiotherapist. This may also include nebulised medications to help loosen secretions.

Physiotherapy Contacts

- Becky Hancock - 0117 342 8525