Background: There should be a clear pathway through pulmonary rehabilitation and follow on services. The aim of this survey was to determine the characteristics of the different components of the patient pathway i.e. pulmonary rehabilitation programmes, ongoing exercise facilities and support networks in Northern Ireland. Methods: Questionnaires were sent to current providers of pulmonary rehabilitation, providers of ongoing exercise and support groups in Northern Ireland.Results Findings relating to the current status of pulmonary rehabilitation in Northern Ireland up to January 2007 are reported. There are currently 23 pulmonary rehabilitation programmes in Northern Ireland. There appears to be a pathway through the short term pulmonary rehabilitation programme (six to eight weeks). Programmes met standards for structure and format, except for the frequency of supervised exercise. Not all programmes have links for the provision of ongoing exercise but a range of exercise programmes are available in leisure centres in Northern Ireland that include people with respiratory disease. There are 13 support groups for patients with respiratory disease in Northern Ireland and their function is diverse. The pathway relating to the provision of ongoing exercise and networks for social support is underdeveloped and underutilised.Conclusion: Pulmonary rehabilitation is established in Northern Ireland, though not all patients are able to access these. Facilities for ongoing exercise and support groups are less developed. Improvements could be facilitated by better communication within the patient pathway and a strategic coordinated approach.
- maintenance exercise
- pulmonary rehabilitation