Love your lungs

Posted on March 24, 2016 by Lisa Hammerton

Lisa gets her lungs tested with a spirometer test with the British Lung FoundationHere at Simplyhealth, we help people make the most of life by supporting them with their everyday health needs. Not only are we dedicated to helping our customers, but UK charities, community projects and of course, our employees too.

We've been working with The British Lung Foundation to help boost the overall wellbeing of people living with lung conditions, as well as the wellbeing of our own people. Recently, specialist respiratory healthcare professionals from the charity visited our offices in Andover, Leeds, Manchester and Winchester to carry out a wellbeing event for our employees. The visits gave our employees the opportunity to learn more about their lung health from a spirometry test and also provided insight on the physical damage caused by smoking, with useful advice on giving up.

Also at these  sessions we launched our updated process for 'Be Smoke Free' - our internal programme to help employees quit smoking. It gave smokers the opportunity to discuss and find out more on how we can support them to give up. In Andover and Winchester, we were fortunate to have a Smoking Cessation Adviser on hand to offer help and advice.

What happens at a Love your Lungs session?

First of all, your height is measured, and then a pre-screening questionnaire is completed, asking your age, whether you smoke and your general overall health. 

This information is then input into a small machine called a spirometer, used to help diagnose and monitor certain lung conditions by measuring how much air you can breathe out in one forced breath.  

A mouthpiece is clipped on to the device; you take a deep breath in and then exhale as quickly and forcefully as possible (repeated three times). From this, the spirometer is able to calculate the percentage of your lung function capacity. You then discuss the results with a respiratory professional, including what this means for your lung age. They may also offer further support or a GP referral letter if needed.

Overall, over 245 employees took part in a session, some of whom were referred to their GP for further help and advice.

Leading the fight against lung disease - The British lung FoundationHere are a few comments from employees that took part:

"I always thought I had healthy lungs as I've never smoked, so I was surprised to see that my lung capacity percentage came out as lower than average. I've never had a spirometry test before but will be sure to follow it up thanks to taking part in a Love your Lungs session."
 Lisa, Andover

"I think it's good that Simplyhealth give you the opportunity to take part in wellbeing activities such as the lung capacity test because it's probably not something I would actively do outside of work. The environment was really relaxed and puts you at ease which was good!"
 Sam, Manchester

"As an ex-smoker (stopped 4 years ago) who has taken up running since, my lung health age came out at 37.  I am 40, so I was really pleased that my hard work has paid off in respect of the health of my lungs."
Lisa, Leeds

The British Lung Foundation will benefit from a donation of £41,900 from Simplyhealth which will go towards expanding and developing its Singing for Lung Health (SLH) programme. The sessions, which are designed to be enjoyable and stimulating, include a variety of breathing exercises and songs as well as helping with symptoms of living with lung conditions.  The funds will provide training for singing instructors, identifying areas of need, developing more groups and measuring long and short term impact on people's lung health.

For more information, visit www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/singing-for-lung-health

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