Improving outcomes of patients with bronchiectasis

07 March 2023
The Wesley Hospital Volunteer and General Manager posing for photo at awards night

Physiotherapist Jennifer Phillips has a special interest in Respiratory Physiotherapy, she along with her colleagues Ashleigh Canov and Nicole Harley are researching new methods to help patients with bronchiectasis.

Bronchiectasis is a condition in which the airways become damaged, leading to repeated infections and inflammation, which results in the build-up of phlegm in the lungs needing to be removed in order to help the patient breathe.

Jennifer, who works part time at the Wesley Hospital and part time at Bond University as an Assistant Professor, is undertaking the research as part of her PhD explains there is currently no best practice to help patients suffering bronchiectasis while they are unwell in hospital.

“Most of the evidence for physiotherapy interventions are completed with patient’s out of hospital and well again,” Jennifer said.

“Our research is hoping to contribute to the evidence-base for physiotherapy to help patients with bronchiectasis remove the phlegm from their lungs and improve their condition while still in hospital.

“We are also investigating the impact of these techniques on readmission rates into hospital for patients with bronchiectasis and their quality of life.”

Jennifer says she always thought she would enter into sports physiotherapy while doing her degree but found she was drawn to Respiratory Physiotherapy thanks to the impact she could make with her patients.

“If you can’t breathe, you can’t do anything else,” Jennifer said.

“I can make a difference with patients who are having breathing difficulties in just one session, it’s wonderful to see that I have made an impact and improvement on their condition.

“I work with a range of patients with different respiratory conditions such as Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Pulmonary Fibrosis, COVID-19 and more.

“While we can see patients of all ages, our Bronchiectasis cohort tends to be older and I really enjoy working with these patients.”

The research project has been partly funded by the Wesley Research Institute, Bond University and is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. You can find out more about the research here, BMC Pulmonary Medicine.

You can find out more about Physiotherapy Services at The Wesley Hospital here.

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