26th October 2016 – Help for patients worldwide with lung problems
Michael Crabtree felt like he’d been given a new lease of life after getting help from respiratory nurses at Airedale Hospital.
The retired auctioneer from Gargrave was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) seven years ago which has caused him problems particularly in the last three years. Michael was more recently diagnosed with bronchiectasis, another respiratory condition.
He was on a continual spiral of antibiotics and steroids for recurrent flares of his COPD and his last family holiday was a disaster due to his ill-health. His wife Pamela was really worried about him as he was becoming depressed.
Michael, aged 69, was finally referred by his Skipton GP to the specialist respiratory team, who work in the community, and within just a few months he was much healthier and happier. He was invited to Airedale NHS Foundation Trust Board on 26 October to share his experience with its members.
Michael said: “I used to work with coal and tarmac which probably contributed to my health problems.
“One thing which really helped me was a rehabilitation course as it showed me what exercises I could do and my new inhaler and acapella breathing device have been a great help.”
Colette Scully, specialist nurse at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said Michael’s condition had steadily declined over the past few years and he had taken an ‘obscene’ amount of antibiotics and steroids to try and bring it under control.
She said: “When I first met Michael he was rather down despite putting on a brave face. He had been used to a busy lifestyle and was the brink of giving up work and not wanting to go out much socially.
“However, with a few changes he was back to work within a short space of time, it amazing to see such a positive difference in someone.”
Following an assessment to discover Michael’s main concerns, Collette changed his inhaler as the device he was using was no longer suitable due to a deterioration in the strength of his ability to take a breath in.
She showed him some breathing techniques and ways to clear his chest, discussed giving up smoking and together they drew up a plan to help him manage his own condition better and reduce any deterioration in the lungs.
Michael was also referred for pulmonary rehabilitation for people living with COPD or other respiratory conditions. It is an eight week programme run by a respiratory physiotherapist – two hour sessions twice a week. They are held at Castleberg Hospital in Settle, Broughton Road Community Centre in Skipton, Leisure Centre in Keighley and are also available in the Bradford area.
Participants have a personalised exercise programme to strengthen their muscles which helps oxygen to be used more efficiently. They are taught breathing and chest clearance techniques and get advice on any respiratory problems. Patients are also helped to take control of their own condition and take part in educational sessions about medication, how the lungs work, psychological and physical effects of the disease, advanced care planning and diet.
Colette said: “The rehabilitation courses help you to focus on what they can do and adapt their lifestyle.”
For the past six months Michael has been free from steroids and antibiotics. He said:
“I didn’t think I could ever feel as good as I do now – I’m more relaxed now I know there are nurses at the end of the telephone who will help me if I have any problems again.”
The respiratory nurses at Airedale Hospital are supporting World COPD Day – Wednesday 16 November – a campaign to help millions of people with the chronic disease.
In the Bradford and Airedale area, there are more people with COPD compared to the national average. In 2015 / 2016, there were 2,764 registered patients in Airedale Wharfedale Craven. with COPD which is 1.86 percent of the population.
According to the Right Care data we have a 70.9 percent reported to estimated prevalence of COPD.
Colette said: “The aim of World COPD Day is to raise awareness of the disease so that people can get the help they need to have the quality of life they deserve.
“Patients can find it difficult to breathe and often struggle with everyday tasks. But living well with COPD is possible with the right support.
“If anyone is worried about breathlessness, don`t just put it down to being older or unfit, seek advice from your GP. Getting an early diagnosis of COPD means people can be given early interventions and advice.”
It is estimated that there are more than 2 million people living with this condition in the UK who haven’t been diagnosed. COPD describes a number of conditions affecting the lungs including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma.
Support and advice for people with the disease is available on the British Lung Foundation’s website https://www.blf.org.uk/Page/Support-and-information
Notes for editors
The specialist respiratory nurses help to integrate primary and secondary care by reviewing patients at home or those who are admitted to hospital with an exacerbation of COPD. They then follow patients up after discharge and carry out an holistic assessment in their own homes to help them proactively manage their respiratory disease and draw up a self-management plan. Their aim is to support patients to stay well at home and avoid both unnecessary hospital admissions and attendances at the Emergency Department.
The nurses also provide educational sessions for health workers and have set up a local network to provide professionals with easy access to information, advice and best practice in respiratory care. For more information: Facebook AWC Respiratory network & twitter @awc_resp.