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BreathingSpace hosted an information event held to mark World COPD Day on Wednesday, November 16.
BreathingSpace used the day to raise awareness of COPD and provide attendees with information on how best to manage it. Taster sessions for pulmonary rehabilitation and tai-chi were put on to showcase some of the programs BreathingSpace use to help manage respiratory conditions like COPD.
Geoffrey Davis, 77, is a patient who has had the benefit of these sessions. He has 2 conditions: COPD and bronchiectasis. He has also had part of a lung removed. ‘I’m a prime example of why coming to BreathingSpace and staying the course works. They’ve increased my lung capacity from 73% to 80%: now I can walk 25 minutes at a time instead of 15! When you’re here doing rehab, they coach you and make sure it works for you. I really think BreathingSpace are the experts and trust what they are doing for me. Honestly, without them, I really don’t feel like I would be here’.
Another patient, Sandra Moule, has felt a new lease of life since coming to BreathingSpace and undertaking a program to help manage her respiratory condition: ‘This program I’m on and being a part of this environment and community has helped me physically, but more than that, it’s helped me mentally too. I feel a confidence I didn’t have before: I feel OK now and comfortable walking around with my oxygen and being breathless. I’m no longer sat waiting for the worst: I feel like I’m living with my condition rather than waiting to die from it’.
Attendees also had the chance to sit down for engaging, educational talks. One talk on “what is COPD?” by Respiratory Nurse Consultant Jacqui Pollington got the “bark” of approval from one four legged attendee , whilst a talk about spirometry from our Medical Physics and Respiratory Physiology colleagues had attendees ready to take a test straight away. Later, an engaging lecture was held by Clinical Director Dr. Jason Page about targeted lung health checks that will be given to older members of Rotherham’s population in the near future.
To help further attendees understanding of COPD and how to manage it, a raft of information stalls were available to browse. Amongst them was Functional Fitness, a local partner service ran by Leon Wormley, an Exercise Specialist whose work in the health and fitness has won him national awards: ‘I feel it’s important that they build the functional strength to do the things that might be difficult for them in their daily life. I tailor programs so that they can do things you wouldn’t think about, like getting in and out of a car, lifting a shopping bag or gardening. If they can learn to do these things, it’s a sustainable change in their life and that’s the key thing here – helping them to live with their condition’.
We also had the chance to speak with two of BreathingSpace’s colleagues, Respiratory Nurse Ruth Jaques and Asthma Nurse Specialist Kat Price, who were there to teach patients about inhalers. They shared the importance of Patients being familiar with their inhaler and how to use it: ‘If a patient is suffering increasing exacerbations, we know that our intervention can be a change that a patient needs to help control their symptoms. Giving them the correct coaching and educating patients on their inhaler is just as important as them using it’.
The information event was well attended by members of public from both Rotherham and further-a-field in Yorkshire who came seeking expertise on a condition that effects 2% of England’s population. Reflecting on the day, Community General Manager Penny Fisher said: ‘I feel privileged and humbled to be here today with the colleagues at BreathingSpace. I’ve been in the NHS for quite a number of years and it’s really wonderful to see what we offer to our COPD patients and what BreathingSpace has evolved into with all its brilliant, new facilities’.
Below, Community General Manager Penny Fisher, Respiratory Nurse Consultant Jacqui Pollington and Specialist Physiotherapist Melissa Peters, who organised the event.