Breathlessness Management Resources

Breathlessness is a common and distressing symptom in many advanced long term diseases, causing considerable disability, anxiety and social isolation.  Both the person who suffers from it and those closest to them can  become anxious and sometimes depressed and worried by the impact of breathlessness. 

The good news is that there are lots of things that can be done to help manage it. The information leaflets and other links on this page have been designed to  help individuals and their families cope better with persistent breathlessness.

The information leaflets were reproduced and adapted for NHS Tayside by a multidisciplinary working group with help and advice from patients. The working group would like to thank and acknowledge the Cambridge Breathlessness Intervention Service, Addenbrookes Hospital ,Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust  for their original work and kind permission to reproduce it .                 



These resources are to support patients with chronic breathlessness despite optimal management of their underlying condition. The aim is to reduce the impact of breathlessness using mostly non-drug approaches including breathing techniques, anxiety management and building up activity levels.  

The resources are NOT for :

  • Managing people in the acute phase of COVID- 19 - (use Coronavirus 111 helpline &  local COVID pathway
  • People dying imminently from COVID-19 (consider palliative care referral and pharmacological breathlessness management)   

End of Life Care Guidance when a Person is Imminently Dying from COVID-19 Lung Disease

Managing breathlessness at home during the COVID-19 outbreak - facsheet  khp-gp-breathlessness-resource.pdf            



Useful sites and further information on managing breathlessness: 

  • Addenbrooke's Hospital website with video and audio to help manage breathlessness including causes of breathlessnes and relaxation scripts
  • St Christophers Hospite website has a set of four videos designed to give people advice and information about managing breathlessness
  • Supporting someone with breathlessness  - provides a source of help and advice for family and friends of people with breathlessness developed by healthcare professionals, health researchers and people who have cared for someone living with breathlessness. It also inlcudes advice to help family and friends supporting someone with breathlessness that may be recovering from COVID-19.
  • MacMillan - Managing and Treating Breathlessness
  • Marie Curie - Managing Breathlessness: A guide to breathing techniques, medication and other things that can help