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The meaning of the name of ‘pulmonary rehabilitation’ and its influence on engagement with individuals with chronic lung disease

Oxley, Rebecca; Harrison, Samantha L.; Rose, Arthur; Macnaughton, Jane

The meaning of the name of ‘pulmonary rehabilitation’ and its influence on engagement with individuals with chronic lung disease Thumbnail


Rebecca Oxley

Samantha L. Harrison

Arthur Rose


Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is recommended for all individuals living with a lung condition and chronic breathlessness. This article considers how adopting an interdisciplinary, medical humanities approach to the term ‘pulmonary rehabilitation’ might unpack some of the misconceptions, misrepresentations or negative connotations surrounding it, which have been largely overlooked in explanations of the low uptake of this programme. Taking key insights from Wellcome Trust-funded Life of Breath project, including ethnographic research in community fitness groups in North East England and the ‘Breath Lab’ special interest group, this article outlines how the whole-body approach of PR is not easily understood by those with lung conditions; how experience can inform breath perception through the pacing of everyday life; and how stigma can impact rehabilitation. This article highlights the value of medical humanities in working through communicative challenges evident in the translation of PR between patient and clinical contexts and sets out two arts-based approaches (Singing for Lung Health and dance movement) as potential options that could be included in the PR referral. Finally, the article outlines the need for collaborative research exploring the communication and meaning of healthcare strategies and experiences at the interface of the arts, humanities and medical practice.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 24, 2019
Online Publication Date May 28, 2019
Publication Date May 28, 2019
Deposit Date Jun 27, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jun 28, 2019
Journal Chronic Respiratory Disease
Print ISSN 1479-9723
Electronic ISSN 1479-9731
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Pages 1-9
Public URL


Published Journal Article (208 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without
further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

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