Fan Implementation Study (FITS)

About the project

Title: Fan Implementation Study (FITS)
Time frame: Ongoing
Contact for more details: Dr Flavia Swan

Healthcare professionals use non-drug treatments such as cool airflow from the fan to help patients manage their breathlessness when other drug treatments don’t help. The fan offers patients valuable benefits for the management of breathlessness.

However, little is known about how healthcare professionals use the fan. We do not know how, where and when healthcare professionals use the fan, or if there are any problems related to fan use.

The study aims to gather information on the use of the handheld fan (fan) by healthcare professionals and how the COVID 19 guidance, not to use the fan is currently affecting clinicians’ management of breathless patients.

We are asking healthcare professionals who work with breathless patients to:

i) complete a short on-line survey to find out how the fan is used (or not) in everyday clinical practice.

ii) take part in an interview to find out more about their views and experience of using the fan, and how the  COVID 19 guidance, not to use the fan is currently affecting clinicians’ management of breathless patients.

Clinician interviews UK


Twelve clinicians participated (4 doctors; 4 nurses; 4 allied health professionals) from respiratory and palliative care. We generated three major themes:

i) Clinician knowledge and skills in fan implementation,

ii) environmental constraints on fan use and

iii) clinician beliefs about the consequences of fan use.

Clinicians believed that the fan relieved breathlessness and did not carry a significant infection risk. Opportunity for fan use varied across healthcare settings; key environmental influences were COVID-19 restrictions, lack of access to resources and funding to provide fans, particularly in acute and respiratory services. Clinicians commonly encountered scepticism among patients and colleagues who felt the fan was not a plausible intervention for breathlessness. Funding to allow patients to be supplied with and taught how to use a fan would support uptake. Research is needed to address concerns about infection risk.


Fan Implementation clinician interviews UK: Lightening round oral presentation Dyspnea 2022, Oxford, July 2022

Clinician UK and Netherlands surveys


Currently analysing and preparing results


Fan Implementation UK and Netherlands clinician surveys: Poster presentation Palliative Care Congress (PCC), Edinburgh March 2023

Gamze Keser HYMS Year 4 INSPIRE student.

PCC Abstract Runner-up of the Medical Student Prize