Going for gold with the help of South Lakes Community Respiratory Team

85 year old George Alfred Henderson, known as Alf, has achieved his goal of panning for gold after enrolling on a course of Pulmonary Rehabilitation with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, CPFT.

After deterioration in his health and fitness due to severe lung disease, long term oxygen and a recent hospital admission for pneumonia, Alf was breathless walking across his living room and even at rest. But determined not to be defeated, Alf set himself some challenging goals:

“I was determined to improve my health and reach a stage where I was fit enough to do the things I enjoy most. I wanted collect wild flower seeds from the hedgerows, to be able to lift my beehives and to return to gold panning in Scotland.”

Alf enrolled on a course with the South Lakes Community Respiratory Team in Kendal who supports people to manage their Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Alison Brenton, Respiratory Occupational Therapist, said:

“The pulmonary rehabilitation course is a seven week programme of gradually increasing exercise, education on disease self-management and advice on symptom control. Alf worked hard and it has really paid off – he has shown what can be achieved when you put your mind to it.” 

Following the course, Alf has now managed to achieve all three of his goals:

“I knew my goals were challenging, and some might say unrealistic, but it’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. I cannot praise the work of the team highly enough, it is truly life changing. Being able to get outdoors and do the things I love means so much to me, I’ve even planned my next gold panning trip and have plenty more adventures in the pipeline.”

The team are currently trialling some changes to the programme to improve patient care even further. The education element will now take place separately while patients wait for the exercise course, meaning they can receive advice and support right from the start. Karen Donaldson, Specialist Respiratory Physiotherapist, added:

“Feedback from patients has been fantastic following the changes. We’ve been able to reach more people and reduce waiting times – meaning people can start to manage their COPD before their condition worsens.”