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More than a medical symptom: the need for holistic care of breathlessness

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Universities of Bristol and Durham have recently published research which highlights that breathlessness is a complex and subjective experience, and calls for more holistic care of breathlessness.


The research reveals how cultural, philosophical, historical and social contexts impact on people’s experiences of breathlessness, and makes recommendations for healthcare professionals, policy makers, and government bodies concerned with health care.


The Life of Breath team consists of academics in medical anthropology, history, philosophy, medical humanities, arts and health, and palliative care research, led by Professors Havi Carel and Jane Macnaughton.


The key findings and implications for policy are outlined in the PolicyBristol policy report.


The recommendations fall into the following areas:

1. Addressing cultural and societal factors:

  • Changes to services
  • Changes to education and training

2. Identifying palliative care needs for patients with advanced respiratory problems

3. Assessing respiratory disability: balancing objective measurement


If you would like to find out more about this research, you can contact Professor Havi Carel: Havi.Carel@bristol.ac.uk