World COPD Day will be held this year on Wednesday 14 November.  This worldwide day, which is organised by GOLD (the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) aims to raise awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  The theme this year is “It’s not too late.”  This positive message emphasises the meaningful actions people can take to improve their respiratory health, at any stage before or after a Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD) diagnosis.

To mark World COPD Day, the Trust’s Community Respiratory Service, will be talking to shoppers at Templars Square Shopping Centre, Cowley, Oxford during the morning of Wednesday 14 November, about the Trust’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme and Respiratory services that they offer.  They will also be offering free spirometry tests to shoppers to identify anyone who may have COPD, and demonstrating some of the types of exercise that are part of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation courses.

The aim of Pulmonary Rehabilitation is to support people in coping with their breathlessness, helping them to feel fitter and stronger and to have a better quality of life.  The team provide free short-term courses to patients with COPD and other chronic respiratory conditions.  The courses consist of a combination of exercise, working to a programme developed with each individual, and education sessions run by physiotherapists, respiratory nurses, occupational therapists and dieticans.  The courses are held at leisure centres across Oxfordshire so patients do not have to travel far to attend one.  Patients wishing to attend one of the courses should speak with their GP who can make the necessary arrangements to refer them to the team.

To help promote the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme to patients and healthcare professionals, the team have launched a film giving an insight into what the courses entail.  Rachel Lardner, Pulmonary Rehabilitation Team Lead, said “Our Pulmonary Rehabilitation courses help people to be able to do more day-to-day, and to understand their lung conditions better so they can help themselves to stay fitter and healthier and hopefully stay out of hospital.  We know that people get quite anxious about going to a gym and so we thought the film would be a good way of showing people what the course was really like.”

The film can be viewed on the Oxford Health NHS FT’s You Tube Channel via http://www.youtube.com/user/OxfordHealth

COPD is a highly prevalent disease, has a large impact on the quality of life for patients and their families, and kills millions of people worldwide.  The early stages of COPD are often unrecognised, in part because many individuals discount symptoms such as breathlessness, chronic cough, and bringing up phlegm as a normal part of getting older or an expected consequence of cigarette smoking.  For people whose breathless is more severe, the knowledge of COPD as an incurable disease may be a frightening prospect that discourages them from seeking a diagnosis and treatment.

However, in people at risk for COPD, a simple, painless test called spirometry can help diagnose the disease.  Finding COPD early gives the best chance to prevent further lung damage.  However, treatments are available to help people at all stages of disease feel better and live a more active life.

For more information about Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Oxfordshire please visit https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/?service_description=pulmonary-rehabilitation-service