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Gail Miles: How a nurse-led unit supports patients with respiratory disease

Set up ten years ago in Rotherham, a former coalmining community with high rates of COPD, the nurse-led BreathingSpace unit focuses on providing pulmonary rehabilitation and has kept hundreds of patients out of hospital

Set up ten years ago in Rotherham, a former coalmining community with high rates of COPD, the nurse-led BreathingSpace unit focuses on providing pulmonary rehabilitation and has kept hundreds of patients out of hospital

BreathingSpace is a nurse-led and nurse-run unit for patients with long-term respiratory conditions in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

We treat patients with a variety of respiratory conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiectasis and chronic asthma – which primarily affect the airways – and pulmonary fibrosis, which is scarring of the lung interstitium.

Rotherham is located in a former coalfields community, the legacy of which includes social deprivation, poor housing, high unemployment and chronic ill health.

High prevalence

Coalmining affects both the airways and the lung interstitium due to the inhalation of fine coal dust particles,

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