Regaining Control while living with Emphysema16-pic

NHS, North Yorkshire and York

Pauline’s Story

When 56 year-old Pauline Waite was diagnosed with a respiratory disease called Emphysema seven years ago, it made a huge impact on her life. Even simple day-to-day activities such as carrying shopping bags and going for short walks became a struggle. After Pauline was admitted to hospital in October 2009 with pneumonia, she knew she wasn’t coping well with her illness. “I felt like I was the only person in the world suffering from emphysema. I used to panic if I felt ill. I didn’t want any more admissions into hospital, so my nurse suggested Telehealth.” In December 2009, Pauline had a telehealth device installed in the comfort of her home.

“At first I was skeptical,” she says. “I didn’t know anything about it and questioned its reliability. But my nurse was really helpful and explained what Telehealth was and how it would help me. Telehealth saved me an admission to hospital between Christmas and New Year, when there was an abnormal reading on Boxing Day and the following two days. I was really grateful as having to go to hospital would have really spoiled my Christmas.”

What is the Telehealth intervention?

“The device is so simple and easy to use and the step-by-step instructions are clear and easy to follow. It measures my blood pressure, oxygen levels and temperature once a day at 10 a.m., which only takes five minutes out of my day. If there are any abnormal readings it alerts the clinic and I get a phone call from a nurse at York Hospital the same day.

A focus on empowering the patient

16cap“I was struggling to cope with my illness before Telehealth was fitted, either waking up or going to sleep feeling uneasy or ill. Telehealth gives me a sense of reassurance to know somebody is keeping a check on me every day. It feels like a godsend, I feel much more at ease with the different aspects of coping with my illness.”

There is an increased feeling of self-control in Pauline’s case as well. “If I don’t feel quite right I can take measurements at any time in the day and the majority of the time everything is okay,” she says. “Before the device was fitted I would worry my blood pressure was too high and whether my body could cope with the things I had to do that day. Now I feel I have the confidence to get on with my daily activities without the thought constantly being at the back of my mind.”

From a Healthcare provider’s point of view, Judith Norell, a Community Respiratory Specialist Nurse, has said, “I’ve seen the impact of Telehealth first hand and it’s incredible to see the peace of mind and reassurance it can give to patients.” Pauline is now far more confident in going about her day-to-day activities knowing that her condition is being monitored more closely. “I am thrilled with the new technology and can see that it will benefit many more patients in the future.”

For further information

For more information about this initiative please visit

(April 2011)

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