People who suffer from a chronic lung condition are quite literally set to get their own ‘breathing space’ in the City of Wolverhampton, as part of a new support group established to help them socialise and cope with their condition.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a condition where the airways become inflamed and the air sacs in the lungs are damaged. This causes the airways to become narrower, which makes it harder to breathe in and out. Therefore, people with COPD have breathing difficulties and this can affect many aspects of day-to-day life (British Lung Foundation).
Now, ‘TWIRL’ (The Wolverhampton Integrated Respiratory Lifestyle project) is looking for people to join the weekly group which will offer advice and support from healthcare professionals as well as the opportunity to socialise with others living with COPD.
Marlene Lambeth, 66, was diagnosed with COPD ten years ago. She comments: “Living with COPD can be challenging as I can often become quite breathless, which is scary. You start to panic, but I have since learnt how to cope during a breathlessness episode which helps me get through it.”
Mrs Lameth of Low Hill believes that the group will benefit those diagnosed with the chronic lung condition: “People can talk to others who have COPD as well as access care from nurses and professionals. It will be something for people to look forward to, for them to make friends, give them a focus and do new things. We want to encourage people to come along and take a look and build a network of support.”
Sandra Creswell, whose husband Colin was diagnosed with COPD in 2011, added: “In July last year Colin was taken very ill with pneumonia. I could tell that something was wrong, but because we had both received support from the breathlessness group I knew what to do so I could act fast. As a result Colin is here today. It is heart-warming that medical professionals in Wolverhampton care enough to set up the TWIRL group to improve the lives of people living with COPD.”
Talking of how the group came to be formed Dr Helen Ward, Respiratory Consultant at Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust said: “We’re really pleased to be able to offer this new group in Wolverhampton, following the success of a similar ‘breathing group’ in Coventry. People who attended showed improvements in their wellbeing and felt less isolated.
“The new group has been made possible thanks to the joint efforts of the Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, Compton Hospice, Wolves Community Trust, Age UK Wolverhampton and West Midlands Fire Service.
“With the support from the Health Foundation, a charity working towards improving the quality of UK health care, we’ve come together to develop this community group for COPD patients.
“It will meet weekly on Wednesday afternoons from 12noon at Molineux Stadium, starting from Wednesday 20 July. Patients can take part in fun activities like bingo and quizzes and structured education to help them better manage their condition whilst being supported by volunteers and health care professionals in an informal environment.”
If you would like to find out more about the group and the help it offers before the first meeting, representatives will be available at the North Bank Bar, Molineux on Wednesday 6 July from 1pm until 3pm.
For more information on TWIRL please contact your local GP or healthcare professional.
Pictured (L-R) Katie Jones - Community Matron; Susan Spencer - CEO of Age UK Wolverhampton; Sandra Creswell – wife of COPD patient Colin Creswell; Wolfie – Wolves FC Mascot; Colin Creswell – COPD patient; ‘Ray The Fireman’ – West Midlands Fire Service; Marlene Lambeth – COPD Patient; Sammy Sunflower – Compton Hospice Mascot; Kay Lal – Respiratory Nurse at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust; Dr Helen Ward – Respiratory Consultant at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust; Brian Pearce - Community Risk Officer for West Midlands Fire Service.