The specialist NHS service is managed by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides a range of community and mental health services to the people of Barnsley.
The service creates individualised rehabilitation programmes made up of exercise and education that help keep people well and get back to as full a life as possible after a deterioration in their condition or stay in hospital.
Cardiac rehabilitation is for people with heart problems such as angina or those who have had a heart attack or heart failure. Pulmonary rehabilitation is for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic lung disease.
Staff use education to help participants understand what exercise they can do to manage their condition and what signs and symptoms they should look out for to spot any deterioration. Once they know what their limits are they can feel more confident in completing daily tasks and exercising.
Jill Young, respiratory specialist and team leader, said, “Research shows exercise will help recovery and although people may initially be worried about exercising, staff are able to offer the support and reassurance they need. Safety is paramount and each person undergoes a full assessment before beginning a programme. There are a number of psychological barriers that people break through first, but once they have built up their confidence they enjoy coming to sessions and are pleased that someone has shown them just what they can do rather than been told what they shouldn’t be doing. The educational talks we provide are just as important as the exercise and many people who attend say they are relieved when they are able to discuss topics such as smoking and stress and how they will impact upon their condition.”
People who attend the sessions benefit from an overall improvement in their quality of life and many develop the confidence to exercise and take part in daily activities. There is also the social aspect of attending the group and many are given the boost they need to get out of the house and back into the community again.
While on holiday in Australia, Ernest Hopkinson suffered a heart attack and was required to undergo a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) at a Brisbane hospital. When he returned to the UK he was referred to the Barnsley cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation service.
Ernest attended cardiac rehabilitation sessions at the Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre in Cudworth, for three months and found they made a huge difference to his health and wellbeing.
During sessions the intensity of exercise was measured and his heart constantly monitored. A target heart rate established which was then increased monthly. Other measures such as the distance covered or the amount of calories burned were also used as a good way of showing Ernie that he was improving each session.
Speaking about his time with the service Ernie said, “I can’t praise the cardiac rehab team enough for the work they did with me and the care they provide. Not only did they get me up and active again but they also got me out of the house and meeting new people. It was very reassuring for my wife to know there was such a caring service looking after me and helping me get back on track.”
To find out more about the Barnsley cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation service and to see if you meet the referral criteria speak to your GP. Referrals are accepted from hospital staff, GPs , consultants, practice nurses, chest clinic and cardiology departments.