Skip navigation

Practitioner experiences of pulmonary rehabilitation service delivery during COVID-19 and impact on future service delivery

Emily Sparkes University of Plymouth , Emily Fitzgerald University of Plymouth , Jessica Koppa University of Plymouth , Orla O'Rourke University of Plymouth , Emma Perry University of Plymouth , Sian Goddard University of Plymouth


Emily SparkesUniversity of Plymouth,,

  • Abstract
  • Full text
  • References
  • Figures & Tables


During COVID-19, pulmonary rehabilitation as we know it ceased to exist. The service needed to adapt rapidly to the requirements of the patient group, while complying with government isolation guidelines. Most groups moved online, but with little time to evaluate the service. What can we learn from this roll out to ensure practitioners continue to deliver a safe and effective pulmonary rehabilitation service.


To explore the opinions of physiotherapist and respiratory nursing specialists’ on how pulmonary rehabilitation has changed due to COVID-19 and the impact on future service delivery.


A qualitative design was used to gain in-depth understanding of lived experiences. Forty nine participants completed the online survey of 14 open ended questions, and a four-stage thematic analysis used to identify emergent themes.


Three main themes were identified- a need for best practice, a need for patient centred care, and acknowledging the emotional stressors of COVID-19 on vulnerable patients.


Patients should be offered both online and face-to-face options for pulmonary rehabilitation, to promote patient centred care; providing options to participate in effective rehabilitation without physical or emotional restriction; and to increase staff training to enable practitioners to provide the increasingly complex and holistic service required.

2024 Journal (Vol. 56 Issue 2)
Journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care. Volume 56. Issue 2. 2024. Article on: p13-19
Download Article
Download Full Issue
Submit an Article