PR - Who is it for?

  • Most people with lung disease can benefit from attending PR.
  • Individuals are referred to PR by a health professional e.g. GP, Practice nurse or Consultant. There are some criteria which patients must fulfil and these may vary slightly in each area. Patients may be referred from primary care and have never been to hospital or seen a consultant.
  • As well as benefiting people who find that their breathlessness is starting to affect their lifestyle, pulmonary rehabilitation can also help people who have are recovering from an exacerbation.
  • The point of referral is the most important opportunity to promote PR as a fundamental treatment for COPD and not an optional extra. What the referrer says is crucial.
  • Other criteria include those who would benefit form knowing more about COPD, inhalers and medications and anxiety related to breathlessness.
  • People with a Medical Research Council (MRC) breathlessness scale score of 2 or more can benefit from PR.

MRC breathlessness scale: this score refers to the patients ability to walk and how they get breathless

Not troubled by breathlessness except on strenuous exercise.
Short of breath when hurrying or walking up a slight hill.
Walks slower than contemporaries on the level because of breathlessness, or has to stop for breath when walking at own pace.
Stops for breath after about 100 m or after a few minutes on the level.
Too breathless to leave the house, or breathless when dressing or undressing.

Practical Tip:

  • When working with someone who has COPD (or other respiratory condition), it would be worthwhile having a discussion to establish their level of breathlessness during daily activities. If score 2 or more on MRC scale can direct them to appropriate person to refer to PR.
  • PR should be discussed with relevant patients and can be promoted based on each individuals requirements.