5th November 2015 – Help for patients worldwide with lung problems
Two new specialist nurses at Airedale Hospital are supporting a world-wide campaign to help millions of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Colette Scully and Sophie Carrow have set up a new respiratory service due to more people having the disease in Bradford and Airedale area, compared to the national average.
In 2013, there were 12,169 patients in Bradford and Airedale registered as having COPD (2 percent of the population) which is higher than the national average of 1.8 percent and is expected to rise to 4.5% by 2020.
World COPD Day is Wednesday 18 November to raise awareness of the disease and 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
The respiratory physiotherapists run eight week pulmonary rehabilitation classes – two hour sessions twice a week – at Castleberg Hospital in Settle and at St John’s Ambulance centre, in Skipton. The sessions include exercise – walking and using weights – and discussions about medication, how the lungs work, psychological and physical effects of the disease, and diet.
One patient to have benefited from the course is Ludwig Schicketanz, aged 70, who has suffered from COPD for the past eight years and was diagnosed with emphysema three years ago.
Due to his COPD he quickly gets exhausted and has to frequently rest whilst walking. He said: “The exercises helped me a lot and sharing experiences with the four other members of the group was very enlightening.
“A few people referred me to the classes and at first I was very reluctant to participate as it’s not something I would normally do, but they were very useful and I would definitely encourage other people to go.”
For half a century Ludwig has been smoking three packets of cigarettes a day, but six month ago he kicked the habit and very quickly noticed a fantastic improvement in his health. He has now taken up running on a machine in his home until he is out of breath, which gives him more energy and is improving the capacity of his lungs which has been reduced to 30 percent due his illness.
The specialist nurses help to integrate primary and secondary care by reviewing patients admitted to the hospital wards with an exacerbation of COPD, and then following patients up after discharge and carrying out an holistic assessment in their own homes to help them to proactively manage their respiratory disease.
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 are setting up a local network to provide professionals with easy access to information, advice and best practice in respiratory care.
COPD describes a number of conditions affecting the lungs including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Patients can find it difficult to breathe and often struggle with everyday tasks. But living well with COPD is possible with the right support. However, it’s estimated that there are more than 2 million people living with this condition in the UK who haven’t been diagnosed. 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.