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Michael Welby on the respiratory course alongside a Virgin Care therapist

Respiratory exercise programme supports Michael’s independence

A 74-year-old Skelmersdale man is among a number of people with respiratory problems being supported to regain their self-confidence and independence on a new exercise programme launched in West Lancashire.

Michael Welby (pictured), was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) three years ago and has been in and out of hospital with his condition.

The local respiratory service has been supporting Michael with his condition ever since, providing care in his own home to help prevent any further hospital admissions. The exercise programme has been designed to increase independence even further.

The service, which is run by Virgin Care, is now working in collaboration with Well Skelmersdale to run the exercise programme, which will be delivered for the first time to people in community centres such as West Lancs Youth Zone.

Michael is one of the first to join the rehabilitation course. He said: “Since being diagnosed with COPD my self-confidence has gone.

“I liked the idea of the sessions when I was told about them by my respiratory nurse and I hope that by the end of the programme, I will feel fitter and feel better about myself so that I am able to manage my condition rather that it managing me.”

The programme consists of eight weeks of exercise and education sessions which are tailored to each person’s individual needs. The course is designed to help people with respiratory problems reduce levels of breathlessness, feel more confident in their ability to carry out daily activities and improve their general health and level of fitness.

Sandra Bonner, Head of Specialist Services for Virgin Care who is leading the programme, said: “All the evidence suggests that pulmonary rehabilitation will improve people’s quality of life and their ability to do more without being so breathless.

“Exercise classes are designed around the individual’s needs and people, including Michael, will be supported throughout the programme by our respiratory nurses and physiotherapists.

“The education sessions will help those to understand their condition better and feel more confident with managing it which will greatly improve their quality of life. I’m excited to get started and I hope to see a real difference once the course is completed.”

Michelle Lee, Managing Director for Virgin Care in West Lancashire, said: “This is another step on our transformation plan in West Lancashire and a demonstration of just how the work we’re doing is impacting on real people. I am delighted to see the progress the respiratory service has made over the last 12 months and I look forward to hearing about the positive impact the programme will have on patients locally.”

Michael and other service users begun the programme at the beginning of June at West Lancs Youth Zone, Skelmersdale, near the Concourse Shopping Centre.

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