Whakakotahitia a Mate Romahā

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Established in 2008, the Integrated Respiratory Service has been fundamental in helping more people get support for their breathing conditions.

Diagnostic tests like spirometry and sleep studies are now able to be done in the community, closer to people in their homes, not just in the hospital. 

Better Breathing Pulmonary Rehabilitation is the only evidence-based intervention available for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and the community respiratory team deliver nine programmes a year throughout the region.

Community support and exercise groups are there to maintain exercise goals, and to remain connected with other people with similar conditions.

The Better Breathing Consumer Group represent the Better Breathing programmes and support groups and contribute to the development of new services and patient materials.

Specialist respiratory nurses and physicians are available to support general practice teams and community providers to look after their respiratory patients.

The Integrated Respiratory Service is overseen by the Integrated Respiratory Service Development Group (IRSDG), which includes representatives from consumers, Māori, Pasifika, general practice, community pharmacy, hospital and district nursing.

The Day 2 Project sees people who have been admitted to hospital with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) given a full assessment which considers the physical, emotional, social and environmental factors linked to their condition. This helps those involved in their care make connections with appropriate services and resources on their discharge from hospital.

Hospital stays for people with COPD can last as little as three days, so this assessment will be carried out from the second day to fit around clinical activity.

The 12-month project, which started in June 2021, is led by a steering group of which half of the members are consumers with lived experience of COPD, working alongside clinicians to develop the new model. The project uses the partnership in design approach, putting people and whānau at the centre of the design of ā tātou (our own) health system and services.

The steering group will work with organisations outside of health that can influence the social factors that impact lung health, such as housing and access to nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities. The goal is to reduce the overall admission of people with COPD into hospital by 20 per cent, and readmissions from 20% to 12%.

Latest News

Long-standing volunteer’s extraordinary contribution acknowledged

20 Sep, 2022 | Return|

Long-standing Community Respiratory Service volunteer Pauline Mohi was acknowledged by the respiratory clinical governance team last month. 

The clinicians nominate two people, one from within the Respiratory Department and one external to the department, each month to acknowledge and thank them for their work and dedication. 

Dr Michael Maze made the announcement at the Better Breathing Working Group, which he said was a pleasure and lovely to see how much it meant to Pauline. 

“Pauline was nominated due to her extraordinary work with the community exercise groups and the Better Breathing programme. This has been such a large effort over such a prolonged period,” says Michael. 

Pauline said it was stunning and a lovely surprise to be told by the respiratory clinicians that the work she does is appreciated and is helping to make a difference. 

Integrated Services Programme Manager Deborah Callahan says Pauline works tirelessly for the Community Respiratory Service and their programme participants with breathing issues, including helping with service design, reviewing patient resources, running coffee and exercise groups, and is a member of the Better Breathing Pulmonary Rehabilitation Working Group, as well as the Better Breathing Consumer Group. 

“She has helped literally hundreds of people improve their social connections and exercise fitness and is a valuable consumer member of the integrated respiratory service,” says Deborah.

Pauline says: “I’m involved with the respiratory service because I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), so I need to exercise and learn about my condition. It makes sense to pass on my knowledge and help others. 

“It’s also about looking after our mental health, so the social aspects of the coffee and exercise groups is also important. I love what I do, so it just makes sense.” 

Pauline also wants to acknowledge Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialist Louise Weatherall who helped to bring consumers of the pulmonary rehabilitation service together nine years ago, which is how she got involved.

Find out more about the groups here.

About the Author


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Useful resources

Work Plan 2021-22

For Integrated Respiratory SDG. Read full CCN work plan.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation flyer

Information about Canterbury Community Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

Funded Inhalers

Poster showing the funded inhalers in New Zealand 2019.

Exercise groups flyer

Flyer with details of the community respiratory support and exercise groups.

Learning to breathe better

Breathing Breathing Programme - a patient perspective.