North Tees and Hartlepool NHS COPD Specialist has research paper published

Extended Scope Practitioner Caroline Fernandes-James

A Teesside based health care professional has had a specialist research paper published in an international journal.

Caroline Fernandes-James presented her research on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and pulmonary rehabilitation engagement at the World Contextual Behavioural Science conference, Dublin 2019. The full research paper was published in the international journal Chronic Respiratory Disease, and peer review feedback included “This work is of high importance in the field of respiratory medicine. This work will stimulate discussion in this field”

The paper explores the many reasons COPD patients simply do not attend their health care appointments. Caroline explains ‘we wanted to understand the barriers preventing them from coming to their health care provider, more specifically for the Tees Valley and immediate areas and the patients we work to support. We were also interested in the relationship between patients’ ‘psychological flexibility’ and engagement with pulmonary rehabilitation’.

Professor Alan M Batterham and Dr Samantha Harrison (School of Health and Life Sciences, Teesside University) and Dr Chris Graham (Department of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast) supported the research project academically from conception to completion. Caroline acknowledges the input of the university team ‘their scientific guidance has transformed my own understanding of COPD in clinical care. The research has been funded by the Research and Development Department North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and by the Council of Allied Health Professions Research North East hub.

“These scholarships opened my world; with the right training, skills and support dreams do come true”

– Caroline Fernandes-James

Our research investigated the relationship between patient values and avoidant behaviour to pulmonary rehabilitation engagement in COPD patients. Higher values scores are associated with a higher probability of accepting pulmonary rehabilitation referral. We work in some of the areas of highest deprivation in England; our patients can be ‘hard-to-reach’. oOur patients values and aspirations are intrinsically linked to their health care aspirations’ We need to work with patients – with humanity and compassion in mind to understand how to engage them in the best treatment and outcomes’

Caroline pays tribute to her colleagues who enabled the work to become a reality ‘I am grateful for the support from my colleagues at the Respiratory Department at University Hospital of North Tees and The Research and Development Department North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust. My dream to do research was possible with government funded scholarships for Bachelors and Masters in Physiotherapy (TN Medical College Nair Hospital Mumbai India) and Master’s Degree in Clinical Research (Newcastle University). These scholarships opened my world with the right training, skills and support dreams do come true’.

Association of psychological flexibility with engagement in pulmonary rehabilitation following an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Chronic Respiratory Disease, Volume 16: 1–10 DOI: 10.1177/1479973119880893

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