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For professionals

What is the Medical Respiratory Physiotherapy?

The Medical Respiratory Physiotherapy Service is a team of physiotherapists who will assess any medical or surgical patient that are deemed appropriate, and treat as required.

What do we do?

We will assess and treat patients with retained 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 expectorating/coughing, Cystic Fibrosis (CF), Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD), Bronchiectasis and Neuromuscular Weakness. Many of the more chronic patients will be well known to the physiotherapy team and may have a respiratory programme already. On admission these patients may require an increase or review of their baseline physiotherapy programme, at least on a temporary basis.

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 best place on the neuro-rehabilitation ward.

We will assess patients with decreased mobility and advice or treat accordingly.

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.

Not all respiratory conditions require physiotherapy input, and not every patient will benefit from physiotherapy techniques. In some cases the use of physiotherapy techniques may be detrimental, for example Bronchiolitis or a Viral Induced Wheeze. In these cases the physiotherapist will discuss with the MDT the appropriateness of physiotherapy input.

What wards do we cover?

  • Medical: Ward 30a, 30b
  • Surgical: Ward 31
  • Adolescent: W35
  • We also cover Medical/Respiratory outliers throughout the whole hospital.

How are patients referred to the Medical Respiratory Physiotherapists?

Monday to Friday:

The ward physiotherapist attends a morning handover on wards 30a, 30b and 35. For patients on different wards, or new referrals during the day, patients will be referred via a bleep (2192 or 3157) or telephone call to the physiotherapy department (x28525).

For patients who need urgent respiratory assessment and treatment out of normal working hours, a 24 hour on-call service is available. A senior doctor is able to contact the on-call physiotherapist via switchboard to discuss a referral, and if the patient meets the urgent on-call criteria will be treated ASAP.

What might physiotherapy involve?

Patients will be seen by an experienced physiotherapist for full assessment and then an appropriate treatment plan put in place. This may include:

  • Education- It is important that patient and parents understand what is causing their problems and how they can best manage it.
  • Advice- Many conditions may not require treatment but advice on how to manage symptoms
  • Exercise rehabilitation- This is usually carried out at the bed side, but where appropriate can also take place in our gym (or during an activity in the play centre). We have various pieces of equipment that may be utilised
  • Mobilisation- Often then best way of clearing the chest and ensuring the lungs are well inflated is to get patients out of bed and keep moving. Ideally this will be encouraged by nursing staff, but if a patient is struggling to mobilise and may require an aid, a physiotherapist can offer advice.
  • Airway Clearance Programme/Equipment- Specific breathing exercises, blowing games, manual techniques and use of respiratory equipment can 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 physiotherapist. This may also include advice on nebulised medications.
  • Exercise Plan- Patients may be given exercises to do outside of physiotherapy sessions, to continue the progress they 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.

Physiotherapy Contacts

- Jadie Stivens, Becky Hancock, Rachel Smith - 0117 342 8525