‘Singing for Breathing’ group helping people living with lung disease
A choir set up to support those living with lung disease at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has been seeing great benefits for patients.
The ‘Singing for Breathing’ group is run by Breathe Easy Norwich – a patient support group arm of the British Lung Foundation, which provides support and advice for those living with lung disease and their relatives.
The group, which meets twice a month, is a chance for NNUH patients living with conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Asthma, Pulmonary Fibrosis and Bronchiectasis, to come together to enjoy a cuppa, sing, laugh, and to meet other people living with similar conditions.
Paula Browne, NNUH Senior Respiratory Nurse Specialist and lead for the singing group said: “Research shows that singing has great benefits for those living with lung disease such as gaining control over breathing, reducing exacerbation of symptoms, improving lung capacity and enhancing wellbeing.”
The group enjoys renditions of a variety of songs including Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’, Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ and Bill Withers’ ‘Lean On Me’.
Paula added: “We’ve got about 30 people who come to the sessions and everyone has such a good time – you don’t have to be good singer! We’ve got a mix of ages of those who attend, and everyone gets something out of it, whether that’s the social side or the benefits singing has on reducing symptoms.”
For more information about ‘Singing for Breathing’, please call Paula Browne on 01603 289779.
Denise Harkins, 61, from Shipdham, Norfolk has been a patient at NNUH since she was diagnosed with Emphysema 9 years ago, and has been going to the ‘Singing for Breathing’ group for two and a half years.
Denise had been on the transplant list, and in March 2018 she received the call that she had been hoping for and was told that a suitable donor had been found. Denise then underwent a double-lung transplant at Papworth Hospital.
“My lung capacity was down to 23% and I was taking hours to do simple tasks such as making the bed. My donor has given me a second chance at life and I am so grateful for each and every day.”
Denise had to take time off from attending the singing group whilst she underwent the transplant, but had her first session back at the end of May – eight weeks after the procedure.
“It was amazing to get back to the singing group. The support I’ve received from Paula and the group members throughout my journey has been truly amazing. The group is as much about having a good time as it is for building on our breathing techniques to help with our lung conditions. I’m sure I can speak on behalf of the entire choir group when I share my thanks to Paula for her commitment and passion to Breathe Easy and how the work of the charity supports us all.”
Denise and her family are dedicating time to raising funds for Breathe Easy, Norwich and are organising a bingo evening and raffle on Thursday 5th July. If you are able to help in any way with the event, please do contact Claire Rawcliffe via firstname.lastname@example.org or 07542745971.
Denise said: “The difference in my quality of life since the transplant is phenomenal – the word thank you just doesn’t feel enough!”
Once Denise has got the all clear and permission to fly, she’s looking forward to booking a holiday to Canada next year, and of course, carrying on attending the singing group.