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
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.
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.
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.