Supporting Breathlessness

‘Supporting Someone with Breathlessness’ is a source full of help and advice made for family and friends of people with breathlessness (sometimes called “carers”).

To make sure it is as helpful to you as possible, it has been carefully made with a range of experts including health professionals, health researchers and people just like you, who have cared for someone with breathlessness.


This short video below explains why we have made this website especially for carers of people with breathlessness. Please then explore our support topics below this video.

Support topics

Below are the main topics carers told us they want to know more about. Within each you can see, hear and read advice from experts, carers and patients.

Click on either “Cancer” or “COPD” depending on the illness the person you support is living with. This will take you to the right information for their illness.

Are you supporting someone with an illness other than cancer or COPD? See our How to use for carers of people without COPD or cancer guide (PDF 425KB) to read more about how to use this site.

Are you supporting someone with breathlessness that may be recovering from Coronavirus (Covid-19)? We have created some advice to help family and friends supporting someone with breathlessness that may be recovering from Coronavirus (Covid-19). Please see our How to use for Coronavirus guide (PDF 628KB).

Remember that the information on this website doesn’t have to be read all at once – you can come back and revisit it anytime. You may also find that some of the information is more important to you at different times.

Understanding breathlessness

Understand what causes breathlessness and try an activity to see what breathlessness can feel like

Stress, panic and

Find out about the ways stress and panic can be unhelpful for breathlessness as well as some stress-busting ideas


Find out about how important it is for you and the patient to keep active and ideas to get you both moving

Living a
fulfilling life

It’s possible to live a fulfilling life with breathlessness – learn some ways to keep doing what is important for you and the patient


Learn some ways to help the patient avoid and manage infections

What to expect
in the future

Find out what you and the patient might expect in the future with breathlessness and how to plan for it

This website was designed for carers but might also be helpful for...

…people with
breathlessness –

either for themselves or to share with family and friends who support them

…support groups for people living with breathlessness –
who could look at the website as a group

…health care professionals –
who could use this website to support carers (family members and friends of their patients)