Our singing research poster

Patient experience of British Lung Foundation singing groups

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Aim

The aim of this evaluation was to understand patient motivation and experience as part of a program of developing singing groups.

Methods

We trained 10 singing leaders to establish and deliver group singing classes for people with lung disease recruited from the community. Participant (mean age 70, 75% female) diagnoses were; 58% COPD, 34% chronic asthma, 8% bronchiectasis. 18 individuals from 3 out of 10 of these pilot groups were interviewed.

Results

Across all the BLF Singing groups, participants have found attending the groups to be enjoyable, relaxing and beneficial in a number of ways:

Social benefits

The main reason reported for taking part was to improve lung condition but social aspects were also important.

  • “I wanted to come to help improve my lung condition; it also helps with your general mood.”
  • “I found the classes helped me immediately with my breathing and I made new friends.”
  • “I made new friends and got the motivation to get out of my house, which I would not do because of my depression.”

Perception of the singing exercises taught

Respondents were overwhelmingly positive about the experience and valued both the singing itself and the breathing exercises and relaxation techniques that were taught.

  • “The breathing exercises are an important part of it, you don’t normally think about it, but this makes you think.”
  • “…now I think about how or where I am breathing from. And I have satisfaction of knowing that there will be another class next week to exercise my lungs.”
  • “The experience has been amazing. Our teacher has been exceptional in trying to understand our conditions, listening to us and helping us to overcome our barriers with amazing results”

Other benefits

As well as immediate improvements in mood associated with attendance, participants also felt that the classes had improved their day to day quality of life.

  • “I feel less breathless than I was, I can walk up a hill now.”
  • “I know my lungs are getting a good work out. On a bad day both my depression and breathing feel better for it, I feel more alert and ready for the day.”

Recommendation to others

Participants were themselves eager to promote singing as a useful activity with some already volunteering to put up posters in local clubs or at their GP’s surgery. There was general agreement that a fee of £4 per week was reasonable.

  • “If people have lung problems they should definitely try the singing group.”
  • “Without hesitation - it’s an excellent way of improving breathing ability.”

Conclusions

This data extends previous hospital-based studies to show that singing classes are perceived as an effective and valued intervention by participants recruited in a community setting.