World COPD Day: Loving Britain's lungs

Emily explains how we're improving COPD diagnosis and care.

People with lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have very specific needs for their care and treatment. My job is to work with the NHS to make sure those needs are met.

As well as helping people with lung conditions to receive the right kind of care, I also take part in other projects to raise awareness of COPD. These projects aim to encourage early diagnosis and promote all the types of support available to help people manage their condition well.

We have really fantastic connections with both health care professionals and people affected by lung conditions, which means we can work together to support everyone’s needs.

Love Your Lungs events

Emily helps at Love Your Lungs event

Lots of people with COPD are not aware they even have it. But it’s very important to get an early diagnosis so that you can slow down the progression of the disease and stay active for longer.

To help more people get an early diagnosis, we work with local clinical commissioning groups and public health teams to deliver Love Your Lungs events, where local nurses offer free lung screening for members of the public.

Anyone can come along and have a free spirometry test, find out about the symptoms of COPD and take away information to share with family and friends.

If someone is showing symptoms they can also be referred to their GP for more tests. It’s a really effective way of getting people diagnosed who might otherwise have waited until their symptoms got worse.

Patient education workshops

When people are diagnosed with COPD, there are lots of things they can do to help manage their condition well, but they might not know where to look for all the right information.

Patients take part in a BLF workshop

To help spread the word, we run workshops all over the UK, sharing information about stopping smoking, exercising, and how to spot and manage a flare-up of COPD.

We also tell people about all the local services on offer so they can find out more in the future. 

People tell us they find this really helpful and that they feel better able to handle their condition after the workshop. They also feel much better about their wellbeing – and that can have a positive impact on how well they live with COPD.

Health care professional workshops

Health care professionals also want to know the best way of communicating with patients with COPD so that they can recognise symptoms and if someone needs more support.

This can help people to get treatment sooner if they’re at risk of a flare-up, and help them to manage their condition better and it means they are less likely to go to hospital.

Workshop for health care professionals

We run workshops that explain this, as well as the importance and benefits of self-management for COPD. The workshops also explain all the local services available that health care professionals can signpost their patients to. This is a simple but really effective way to keep people healthier and living more active and independent lives.

There are currently 900,000 people diagnosed with COPD and it’s estimated that there’s more than 2 million people who have the condition but haven’t been diagnosed. It's vital that we continue to educate the NHS and the public about the signs of COPD.

If you would like to work with us to run a Love Your Lungs event, patient or health care workshop, get in touch at [email protected] or call 020 7688 6018. You can also donate to our COPD appeal to help us continue our work.


Comments

Hi Andrew. I'm sorry to read your story. We're working really hard to increase awareness of the risks and symptoms of COPD, as well as campaigning for better care and funding research into new treatments. I'm sorry we couldn't help your mum, but hopefully not everybody will have to go through what your family has. Kevin
Hi. My mum had this condition. Didn't know much about it before then. She was a heavy smoker. Lost her in april this year due to the fact that they were reluctant to operate on her when she had a blocked bowel, which I was told a very straight forward op in most circumstances. Due to the fact her lungs and heart were in such a poor condition. Only 67. More needs to be done to publicise COPD the causes and the effects of the illness and how to manage it. If she was diagnosed early enough she might have had more time with us. Obviously my mum was in very poor health, I know a couple of people who have it and u wouldn't know because they found out early enough to manage it and slow it down. Thanks for reading
Hi Tam, Yes, our COPD passports should apply all across the UK. We haven't set a date for our next COPD online surgery just yet, but we're planning to do another one in 2015. We'll announce more details in our supporter newsletter closer to the time - if you haven't signed up yet, I really recommend you join the list to keep updated: <a href="http://www.blf.org.uk/page/signup" title="Supporter newsletter sign-up" rel="nofollow">http://www.blf.org.uk/page/signup</a> All the best, Suzanne British Lung Foundation
When is the next online surgery? Do COPD passports apply all across UK ?
Hi Sue,. We have lots of information about COPD on our website that you might find useful: <a href="http://www.blf.org.uk/copd" title="COPD information" rel="nofollow">http://www.blf.org.uk/copd</a> You could go along to a Breathe Easy support group to meet others with COPD and get lots of advice: <a href="http://www.blf.org.uk/BreatheEasy" title="Breathe Easy support groups" rel="nofollow">http://www.blf.org.uk/BreatheEasy</a> And I really recommend giving our friendly Helpline team a call - they can answer all your questions and point you in the right direction for more support. You can call them on 03000 030 555, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. All the best, Suzanne
I have this condishon can u help

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17 November 2014