Breathlessness or dyspnoea is a subjective experience that can be described as an unpleasant or uncomfortable awareness of breathing. It is a subjective experience for patients and often they learn to adapt to the limitations caused by their condition, which makes their breathlessness less apparent to others. Breathlessness can be subdivided in the context of chronic refractory breathlessness, such as acute breathlessness, which is either an episodic breathlessness or breathlessness crisis. Chronic refractory breathlessness is defined as breathlessness at rest or on minimal exertion that will persist chronically despite optimal treatment of the underlying causative factors. The role of the community nurse in managing the breathless patient should involve differentiating between different types of breathlessness and knowing how to effectively manage it in a holistic manner.