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Case study: Sound Doctor providing online rehab in Cumbria

A respiratory team from North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has produced a range of new videos as an alternative to paper handouts to reach patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The North Cumbria Respiratory teams have  worked with The Sound Doctor, an effective online resource, to produce educational videos to reach patients who would have normally received training through face-to-face sessions.

During the pandemic, pulmonary rehabilitation services were severely affected, and having discovered The Sound Doctor’s chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) training videos, the East Community Respiratory team has facilitated production of new videos to compliment a wider range of respiratory conditions than just COPD.

In addition to the respiratory content, Sound Doctor provides a range of resources for other conditions which are used in North Cumbria such as smoking cessation, weight management, diabetes and heart failure.

Funding was received from NHS England through the Digital First Primary Care fund, to offer patients alternative methods of communicating with primary care, and have now produced their own programme of videos, covering topics such as bronchiectasis and interstitial lung disease and self-management of these conditions. This funding paid for the Sound Doctor team to produce, edit and film the videos.

Face-to-face exercise classes have now resumed but with more sessions and reduced numbers of patients per session. The educational videos now complement the exercise and have proved successful with 6,600 uses from patients since September 2021. Patients benefit now from having choices about how they receive education.

Lori Prescott, Respiratory Physiotherapist and Team Lead for East Community Respiratory in Carlisle said: “Pulmonary rehabilitation used to entail an hour of face-to-face exercise and an hour of education, and since the pandemic we’ve had reduced clinical time having to run more classes due to social distancing to see the same number of patients. We needed to look at education differently to accommodate this.

“When we reviewed The Sound Doctor, we were so impressed – we had struggled to find such detailed videos out there. The people interviewed in these videos are the top clinicians in the country in pulmonary rehabilitation.

“What we’ve had to invest a lot of time in, is looking at how we approach education. Traditionally, we produced lots of handouts. We still provide for them for patients who are not online and plan to return to an element of face-to-face education for patients who require this.”

Using a range of options for both online and offline gives patients a choice and allows them to select the most appropriate method for them.

East Community Respiratory is now looking to improve on its new hybrid model of face-to-face exercise mixed with video education by expanding on its use across the respiratory pathway.

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