Guest blogpost by Sian Midwinter
Sian Midwinter is a specialist respiratory physiotherapist who works in the community and is passionate about ensuring people understand what we offer so no one misses out on treatment that can improve their quality of life.
There has been more media attention on respiratory physiotherapy since Covid-19 which demonstrates some of the ITU work that we do but generally respiratory physiotherapy is poorly understood by the public and most healthcare professionals. You will find us in acute hospitals on the wards and outpatient departments as well as in the community, on rehabilitation wards, outpatient clinics and domiciliary teams. Increasingly there are community respiratory teams which are now multi disciplinary offering holistic care to specific patient groups. We treat a huge variety of problems including obstructive and restrictive lung disease, neurological impairments of the upper and lower respiratory tract, retained
secretions, increased work of breathing and reduced mobility to name a few.
Sian’s experiences has demonstrated to her that there are huge gaps in NHS services for people without a specific lung diagnosis. This is particularly the case for adults with learning disabilities who have breathing problems as a consequence of body shape changes and immobility. It is well documented that pneumonia is the biggest cause of early mortality in this client group (LEDER report, 2018). Physiotherapy can have a huge impact on reducing this and respiratory physiotherapy can support carers/parents to prevent and manage chest infections in the community with bespoke education and treatment. Physios are great problem solvers and can improve quality of life, reduce symptom burden and hospital admissions for even the most complex conditions.
Covid-19 has only fuelled Sian’s desire to continue to promote the work of community physiotherapists alongside respiratory specialists to ensure we meet the needs of the
patients and no one misses out on quality care that can reduce the burden of their symptoms.The burden of Covid-19 symptoms can be helped by specialist respiratory physiotherapists and Sian set up The Lung Physio to develop this promotion and educational work alongside her private practice Midwinter Physiotherapy.