Better Breathing


Breathing problems are very common in people who have heart and lung conditions, or some types of cancer. Breathlessness can be disabling, frightening and distressing for all those concerned. This leaflet is to explain how the Better Breathing Programme can help.

Who is the Better Breathing Programme for?

The Better Breathing Programme is for patients who:

  • are troubled by breathlessness due to heart and lung conditions or some types of cancer.
  • may benefit from a self-help programme in order to manage their breathlessness.
  • may or may not be known to palliative care.

What is the Better Breathing Programme?

The Better Breathing Programme is a four-session course on consecutive Wednesdays  11am – 2:15pm

The team running the programme includes specialist physiotherapists, palliative care nurses, complementary therapist and overseen by our Palliative Medicine consultant.

What will happen?senior woman in wheelchair web

We aim to teach you ways of managing your breathlessness. At each session we will teach breathing and movement techniques. You will also have a light lunch, an education session and a relaxation session.

Your first meeting:

  • You will meet the group and be introduced to the programme.
  • We will assess the problems you are having with your breathing.
  • We can also arrange to have some private time with you alone so you can discuss any more confidential concerns.
  • We can offer you some simple, effective advice to get you started.

Further sessions:

  • We will go into more detail about the interventions and see how helpful they have been for you.
  • Interventions can include breathing and movement techniques, use of a handheld fan and physical exercises, which we will make sure you can manage safely and effectively.

Working with healthcare staff:

  • We aim to work closely with others involved in your care including your general practitioner, hospital consultants and any community-based nursing, physiotherapy or occupational therapy staff.
  • Our specialist advice about breathing can often help these healthcare professionals support you too.

How can I be referred to the Better Breathing Programme?

  • Please speak to your consultant, nurse, therapist or GP if you want to be referred. Self-referrals are accepted if our criteria are met.
  • Referrals to reception at Hospice South Canterbury. 03 687 7670

What does it cost?

  • There is no charge to attend.