65-year-old Lonni Sambleben has suffered from COPD since 2000 and today has a lung capacity of only 23%. In the winter, she got a severe pneumonia and was hospitalised. When discharged from the hospital, she was unable to get on her feet on her own and was helped to her home on the first floor with an oxygen cylinder and oxygen mask within easy reach.
The physiotherapist from Bispebjerg Hospital asked if Lonni would like to participate in virtual team training in her own home three days a week for eight weeks. Lonni had a screen installed at home which connected her home to the physiotherapist at the hospital. The training takes place over a secure, encrypted connection and up to eight COPD patients can participate at the same time and are able to see and hear each other and the physiotherapist. Instead of using their limited energy levels on transport back and forth to the hospital, they use their energy on training:
“It is an advantage to train at home and it is good to be social as well. I have previously been a part of a rehabilitation team at the hospital where we were 12 participants. However, not all 12 showed up on a regular basis, only the first time. People dropped out. This is fantastic and usually with full house attendance. We get instructions on the screen and you are motivated by the fact that you are being monitored and encouraged to do your exercises”, tells Lonni Sambleben.
She believes that telecare makes you not skip training as much as you probably would do in real life – you make the extra effort:
“With telecare I exercise more than I used to and I have the programme set up on my fridge. I am deeply grateful to be a part of this and have only positive things to say about the solution. I am very grateful that I have someone to help me feel better and the social aspect is another bonus. My illness makes me isolated from the outside world, but telecare helps me connect to other people and makes me feel much better physically and socially.
Only one missed workout so far
“March 20th 2015 I had to miss training because my daughter-in-law had a planned caesarean”, explains Lonni Sambleben, with radiant eyes when thinking of her eighth grandchild and tells more about the team: “We have come so close to each other, I miss them when we are not training together. It is great to be part of this project. One day, I explained to the nurse that I was feeling uncomfortable. She helped me get medicine for pneumonia immediately so I could still participate in the training. It was so satisfying afterwards to say: You did it.”
I really think that this is a lifesaving project. It is worth all the money and most people could get a great benefit out of it
Lonni Sambleben thinks her physiotherapist is tough in a positive way. It gives her a sense of security that both a nurse and physiotherapist is participating in the project. Her physical fitness has improved by 80 % in eight weeks. She can now lift twice as much as when she started out with the training. She can go almost twice as fast now. The training lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes each time.
"I really think that this is a lifesaving project. It is worth all the money and most people could get a great benefit out of it. I have not used my inhaler since I started training, and I have only had to take my morning and evening medication”, concludes Lonni Sambleben.
Virtual team training
The project runs over eight straight weeks with training programmed for 1 hour and 45 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Screen and secure encrypted line to the physiotherapist and nurse is delivered and installed by EWII Telecare. All participants undergo testing before training starts and again after the eight weeks of training. The project began in 2012 and took place at the Lung Treatment Centre at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen.