Hospital patients with cystic fibrosis in Sheffield are being given extra help keeping fit and healthy through a special motivational ‘boot camp’.
The programme is running at the Northern General Hospital, offering coaching from physiotherapists, nurses, doctors and dieticians.
Cystic fibrosis specialists set up the boot camp as research shows people with the condition who are underweight increase their chances of chest problems, because the body does not produce enough enzymes to store fat.
Charlotte Rose, a cystic fibrosis clinical specialist physiotherapist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “There are some fantastic treatments available, but sufferers often struggle to take their treatment regularly, just like the rest of us struggle to get to the gym.
“As a cystic fibrosis team we have recognised it is crucial we learn how to support people.”
Ms Rose continued: “I’d like to think joining the boot camp is a bit like joining a gym – there may be many short-term inconveniences, but the overall long-term benefits are enormous, and our job is to motivate people to see their illness as a marathon not a sprint.”
One of the patients, 40-year-old car mechanic Jason Stanley, who runs two garages in Rotherham, said the programme has helped him to regain fitness, improve his lung function and return to a healthy weight for his size.
Jason has also been taking his medication for the past year using an I-Neb device, which has a built-in microchip, allowing instructor Charlotte Hinchliffe to offer online feedback, motivating him to change his behaviour.
“When I first joined the boot camp I wasn’t taking my medications as I had to use a nebuliser, and it was all too much for me,” he said.
“The boot camp helped me stay with my achievements and try out different things.”
More than 9,000 people in the UK live with the genetic disorder, which mainly affects the lungs.