- 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