Cambridge Breathlessness Intervention Service

The Cambridge Breathlessness Intervention Service (or BIS) developed the Breathing, Thinking, Functioning (BTF) model.

The Service was set up in 2003 in Cambridge, England by Dr Sara Booth to provide an evidence-based complex intervention for breathlessness. It is the only ongoing commissioned service focused on breathlessness management in the UK.

“We are a unique and academically rigorous specialist team, dedicated to managing chronic breathlessness caused by any underlying long-term condition. Our evidence-based intervention supports people to self-manage breathlessness, using predominantly non-pharmacological approaches.”

What does BIS offer?

People with any long-term condition causing breathlessness can be seen by the Service after, or in parallel with, optimal medical management of the underlying disease.

The predominantly non-pharmacological intervention incorporates a wide range of approaches, such as breathing techniques, facial cooling with a handheld fan, mindfulness, guided imagery, muscular relaxation, walking programmes, and fatigue and energy management.

The intervention is delivered mostly in patients’ homes by a small team of specialist Allied Health Professionals, with medical and psychologist support, and in close collaboration with a range of services, including primary care, palliative care, respiratory medicine, cardiology and rehabilitation services.

Embedded in research

The pioneering Service has been embedded in research since its inception, including a decade-long evaluation using the Medical Research Council Framework for complex interventions.

BTF is an educational tool

In 2012, the Service developed the Breathing, Thinking, Functioning (BTF) model, as an educational tool to support generalist breathlessness education. The team delivers regular teaching on breathlessness management, underpinned by the BTF model, throughout the UK and internationally.