An exhibition opens today at Hull York Medical School at the University of Hull which aims to help those across Hull and the East Riding living with breathlessness.
The multi-media exhibition, called ‘Bringing Breathlessness into View’, has been inspired by ongoing research which revealed patients with breathlessness feel poorly understood, stigmatised and less able to participate in life. The research was led by Professor Miriam Johnson, Professor of Palliative Care at The Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre, a world leading research centre bringing together research from Hull York Medical School and the University of Hull.
Breathlessness is a very common symptom of a number of cardiorespiratory diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer and heart failure. Globally, cardiorespiratory diseases cause approximately 21 million deaths per year according to the World Health Organisation. The prevalence of many of these diseases is higher in Hull than for the UK as a whole and therefore there are a great number of people living with breathlessness here in the city.
Health researchers at Hull York Medical School, including Professor Miriam Johnson and Dr Ann Hutchinson, along with photographic and sound artists, Anna Bean and Rob Mackay, worked closely with local people living with breathlessness to create the exhibition and tackle the issues highlighted through research.
Janice Tonge, 75, from East Hull, who lives with breathlessness and has contributed to the exhibition, said:
“Over the years my breathlessness has increasingly worsened, there is so much I used to do which I can’t do now. I can’t talk for very long anymore without needing to rest and daily tasks like getting up and having breakfast can take all morning.
“Awareness and support are really important for people like me because breathlessness as a symptom can often be overlooked and forgotten about. Being part of this exhibition has given me the opportunity to raise awareness and help those who need it.
“Breathing comes naturally to us all, we don’t have to think about it, our bodies just do it. When you find yourself repeatedly breathless, it can be quite a frightening and lonely place.”
The co-creation aims to show what living with breathlessness is like, especially to those who may not have experienced it. It also aims to assist clinicians in helping those suffering with breathlessness by providing patients with clear methods to better manage their symptoms and greater assistance in gaining access to support.
The exhibition will be touring community venues, GP surgeries, health centres and support groups across the region over the coming year. The first stop will be at James Alexander Family Practice in Bransholme South Health Centre on Wednesday 24 July 2019.
The Hull York Medical School and the University of Hull has a long history of influential research on breathlessness and other under-researched symptoms. The Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre The Centre conducts palliative care research, and provides education and information relevant to the needs of people living with and dying from serious illness, their families and communities. Its aims to improve quality of life and reduce inequalities in care, especially those driven by socio-economic status and diagnosis.