Ennis Marks World COPD Day November 16th

  • Clare Support Group and health professionals offer advice
  • Lung function testing and inhaler technique check


What is COPD?

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a largely preventable and treatable chronic disease, which mainly affects those aged over 35 years. It is characterised by chronic slowly progressive decline in lung function.

Worldwide by 2020, it will be the third leading cause of death. It is estimated that 440,000 people in Ireland have COPD, of whom over 180,000 have moderate or severe disease.

COPD makes it hard to empty air out of your lungs. This is because the airways get smaller, leading to airflow obstruction. This can result in shortness of breath or tiredness because you are working harder to breathe. COPD is a term used to include chronic bronchitis, emphysema or a combination of both conditions.


Respiratory Service at Ennis Hospital

Ennis  Hospital  had  anticipated  the  upsurge  of  interest  in  respiratory  disease  and  in  2007  was  one  of  the   hospitals  in  the  Mid-West  to  appoint  a  Clinical  Nurse  Specialist  (CNS)  in  Respiratory.  Carmel  McInerney,  Clinical Nurse Specialist  Respiratory,  initiated  a  smoking  cessation  programme,  a nurse-led clinic,  and  advocated  the  need  for  a  Pulmonary  Rehabilitation  Programme  for  the  Clare  area.  The  nurse -led  clinic,  especially,  played  and  continues  to play,  a  major  role  in   the  developing  Respiratory  services  in  Ennis.  The  clinic  offers  help,  support  and  education  on  their  illness  to  COPD  patients. 


Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme

A Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme was commenced in Ennis in 2011.  Carmel  and Mary Dervan, Senior Physiotherapist in Ennis Hospital, developed a  highly  successful  programme  in   2011  which  continues to  run  four  times  a  year. Through this programme the Clare COPD support Group was formed in 2014, being the first of its kind in the midwest region.


Clare COPD Support Group

The group has grown and flourished since where they meet on a weekly basis in Cois na hAbhna , Gort Road (every Thursday 12.30 to 13.10). The aim of the COPD support group is to offer support to individuals and their families and carers who have been affected by illness. They offer advice on healthy lifestyles such as diet and nutritional information or help with, for example, smoking cessation. They organise social events and outings and promote continuing rehabilitation through exercising while in attendance.

“We have on average up to 20 people who come every week and up to 50 people in total involved in the group,” said James Gallagher, Clare COPD, Support Group.

“We try to have a half hour of exercise followed by group discussions. But a large element is the social dimension where we sit down and chat and have a cup of tea. Outside of the regular meetings, we have coffee mornings and weekends away. The mindset is very much that we are not victims; we are proactive about things and get on with it as best we can,” said James, from Ennis.

According to Carmel: “The benefits of the support group are tremendous. People with COPD get to meet others with COPD , share their experiences and meet socially with others who understand the condition.”

Dr Aidan O’Brien, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, UL Hospitals Group, commented: “Early recognition of this all-too-common a disease is very important. Early interventions such as risk factor avoidance, influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations, and inhaler therapy can help significantly with this progressive and debilitating disease. Early recognition of symptoms due to this disease - including persistent cough and sputum or breathlessness, or recurrent chest infections - is very important and should prompt one to see their GP for further evaluation’.

Anyone interested in getting in touch with the Clare COPD Support Group can contact James Gallagher on 086 3395015.


World COPD Awareness Day Thursday, November 16th

Members of the public are invited to Cois na hAbhna, Gort Road, Ennis on Thursday, November 16th (11am to 2pm) to mark World COPD Awareness Day and find out more about their respiratory health.

There will be spirometry (lung fuction testing) and inhaler technique checks available on the day  as well as advice and support on smoking cessation. Refreshments served during the event.

Last updated on: 06 / 11 / 2017