30 June 2023

Making exercise fun for cystic fibrosis patients

“I am Rakhee Patel, a specialist adult cystic fibrosis physiotherapist for University Hospital Southampton. We look after patients from 17 years in Hampshire and six surrounding counties including the Channel Islands.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition in which the lungs and digestive system can become clogged with mucus, causing problems with breathing and digestion. It has different severities as the disease progresses, affecting multiple organs.

A lot of our patients will come to hospital either for routine treatment, or when they’re unwell, potentially they will need to say in hospital for a couple of weeks or months.

As a physiotherapist, we help patients to clear their lungs, and keep them mobile which can be difficult after a long stay in hospital. While we can use the main physiotherapy gym, most of our sessions happen at the bedside.

Currently, a large proportion of our patients are between 17-25 years old so thanks to funding from Southampton Hospitals Charity, we’ve bought a Nintendo Switch with multiple fitness games and accessories, adding a bit of normality back to their lives.


Equipment like this allows patients to exercise, plus have a bit more fun while they are doing it! For those whose cystic fibrosis is severe, it means we can incorporate low impact therapy to get them up on their feet while still doing something physical.

We have all the equipment set up on a trolley that we can clean and wheel around for our patients, making it the perfect mobile activity station. We’ve had fantastic engagement so far, and we are looking forward to many more sessions!”

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