Pulmonary rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a programme of exercise and education for people with respiratory conditions such as COPD and pulmonary fibrosis. The programme includes 12 supervised sessions run over 6 weeks by qualified health professionals. Support to complete some or all of this programme at home can be given.

Why is exercise important?

When you suffer with a breathing problem becoming short of breath can be very frightening and uncomfortable and so you may naturally try to avoid activities which make you breathless. Over time this can result in you reducing the amount of activity that you do. This can lead to your muscles becoming weak, to you becoming increasingly unfit and ultimately more breathless.

This can then make it more difficult for you to do the activities you used to do and so may reduce your quality of life. 

Pulmonary rehabilitation can help break this vicious cycle of reduced activity and increased breathlessness.

How will pulmonary rehabilitation help me?

Pulmonary rehabilitation can help by:

  • reducing your breathlessness,
  • increasing the muscle strength in your arms and legs,
  • increasing your stamina and endurance, 
  • giving you a better understanding of your condition,
  • increasing your confidence in your own abilities to control your symptoms, such as breathlessness, 
  • increasing independence in your everyday life,
  • improving your health-related quality of life.    

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme

The programme is run by qualified health professionals from Southend Hospital who specialise in lung conditions and is conducted over 6 weeks with two sessions per week (12 sessions in total)

Each of the 12 sessions are 2 hrs long. The 1st hour is an exercise session tailored to your own abilities followed by an education session with a tea break in-between.

The classes are run in small groups of approx. 15 people who all have a long-term lung condition.

Once you have been referred for Pulmonary Rehabilitation you will be contacted by a member of the team within a few weeks. They will ask you a few questions about your general health, the medication you are taking and how you are managing with your lung condition. They will explain the programme in more detail and arrange for you to attend for an initial assessment.


Where is the programme run?

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme is run at 4 locations in the area so you can choose the course that suits you best. Each course is run in exactly the same format.

  •  Southend Hospital Course

Location:          Gym 1, Physiotherapy Department, Southend Hospital, SS0 0RY

Day/Time:         Tuesday and Thursday at 11am - 1pm

  • Hockley Course

Location:          Hockley Gym, Eldon Way Industrial Estate, Eldon Way, Hockley, SS5 4AD

Days/Times:      Wednesday at 2.30pm - 4.30pm   and    Friday at 10.30am - 12.30pm

  • Canvey Course

Location:          Hall 3, The Paddocks, Long Road, Canvey Island, SS8 0JA

Day/Time:         Tuesday and Thursday at 2.15pm - 4.15pm

  • St Luke's Course

Location:          St Luke's Church Hall, St Lukes Road, Southend SS2 4AB

Days/Times:      Wednesday at 11am - 1pm    and    Friday at 2pm - 4pm

Before attending the course, you will be invited to attend one of the above locations of your choice for an assessment. This will include a short walking test which will help us to establish the correct level of exercise to start you at. After this assessment you will then be given a date to start the course.

You will be expected to participate in a home exercise programme alongside the pulmonary rehabilitation programme. This will be discussed with you. 

It is important that you attend all 12 sessions in order to gain the most benefit from the course. If you miss a session this can be added onto the end of the 6 weeks so you don't miss out.

Alternative options are available if you feel that it may be difficult to attend twice a week for 6 weeks at this time - please discuss this with a member of the Pulmonary Rehab team.

What happens once I have finished the course?

You will be encouraged to continue with exercise to maintain and improve your general fitness. An individualised plan will be developed with you at the end of the course.

There are several ways in which this can be achieved, including:

  • A home exercise programme;
  • attending a local gym;
  • attending an exercise group.

We will discuss these options with you while you are attending the programme.

We also encourage people to join the local Breathe-Easy support group, held monthly, run by others with lung disease and supported by the British Lung Foundation. 

How can I be referred?

You can be referred for Pulmonary Rehabilitation by:

  • Your GP or Practice Nurse
  • Your Community nursing team
  • Your hospital specialist doctor/Nurse
  • Your nurse or doctor during an admission to hospital

Please ask any of the above professionals that you see for a referral to Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

For GPs

A referral form can be found here: /media/60681/pulmonary_rehab_referral.docx

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Team contact details

For more information please don't hesitate to contact us.

Telephone:        07900 656211


In Person:         Pop into one of the above sites at the times stated to chat with a member of the team


Useful Links:

British Lung Foundation: