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Home » Your Health » Lung conditions » Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

What condition do you suffer with? 

If you have access to your medical records then check it says COPD.   In the past this used to be called Emphysema or Chronic Bronchitis

Here are some links for COPD which you may find interesting: 

What help is available for you to use? 
  • Your doctor or nurse would be happy to advise you about your condition. Here is some really good advice on what to do before you come and see the doctor or nurse
  • In general the nurse deals with ongoing COPD including developing a personalised care pathway with you and showing you how to use your inhalers, ensuring you are up to date with your vaccinations and doing repeat spirometry for you.
  • Your GP usually deals with any exacerbations you may suffer with and follow up if needed urgently if you have needed rescue medication or needed to go to the hospital or call the Out of Hours service. They can also ensure you get repeat antibiotics and steroids if you have needed to use them. 
  • Make sure you remember to get your flu injection.  You will also need a pneumococcal injection once every ten years too.
  • It is important to know how to get an appointment with a doctor in the surgery if you need it.
  • Do you know what online services your GP practice provides i.e. ordering your repeat prescriptions online; booking appointments online and viewing your medical records. 
  • Smoking Cessation Services are available in most local GP practices and also by the Smoking Cessation Service – for Tameside patients contact: Smoking cessation Service – Any Glossop patients should contact Derbyshire Stop Smoking Service or Freephone: 0800 085 2299 Landline: 01246 515153.
  • Watch this series of videos to ensure your inhaler technique is correct.
  • Breathe Easy Tameside run by the British Lung Foundation provides essential self help support and advice and is headed by Ian Kenworthy, a local COPD champion.
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation  is very beneficial for all COPD patients. 
  • Try the COPD decision aid which informs you about what choices you can make, what the benefits or otherwise are for you and help you to decide what to do next.
  • Use the Patient Passport to ensure you get the best COPD care.
What does COPD mean for you?

You need to know that you have stopped smoking or where to get help to stop smoking if you are still doing so. You should have your flu injection. It is important to know what inhalers you should be taking and how to take them. If you have been given antibiotics and steroids to keep at home then you should know what the first symptoms of a chest infection are so that you can start the treatment immediately and then order repeat prescriptions to replace what you have used. If you are also on oxygen then you should know how to get help if you have problems with your oxygen. You should ensure you have spirometry done at least annually including a note of your MRC Dyspnoea Scale a personalised care plan that has been reviewed with your nurse or doctor. You should have been on pulmonary rehabilitation to help you to safely exercise. Patients with COPD can often suffer with anxiety, depression, panic disorder and loneliness.

What needs to happen now and in the future? 

You should have your flu injection. You should have an annual review of your COPD once a year with your nurse which should include a review of your personal care plan, review of inhalers and inhaler technique, smoking advice, pulmonary rehabilitation and information about self-help groups such as Breathe-Easy that may also be able to help you too. You should also discuss how you feel about your condition and whether you feel anxious, depressed or lonely.

What can you do to help? 

As this is a new way of working, it is worth discussing this with the nurse to see how this can be done the first time you decide to take control. 

  • Get access to your GP-held record. Without knowing what is in your records and what you need to do, it will be very hard to know what to do when and with who. This is an essential first step for anybody with any condition or who wants the best from the practice Order repeat prescriptions online (if available at your practice)
  • Register for smoking cessation if you need help to stop smoking. 
  • Take the COPD self assessment tool
  • See living with a lung condition.
  • Is it safe to fly? 
  • Use the Patient Passport to ensure you get great care.
  • You will be offered a COPD patient passport from your healthcare professional which you should take along to all your appointments.
  • Ask your healthcare professional regarding Advanced Care Planning.