People living with the respiratory condition COPD can access a new style of community clinic in Spalding as part of a pilot project.
The project is designed to improve the wellbeing of people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and their carers by reducing social isolation and providing a range of care and support in a non-clinical community setting.
Denis Burke (68), of Spalding, was diagnosed with COPD six years ago and says the clinic is proving a valuable opportunity to be proactive in managing the disease.
He said: “This clinic is valuable because it can help ensure COPD sufferers are not so isolated indoors and is somewhere to get more information.
“You go to the doctors and they say ‘come back next time you’re feeling unwell’.
“It’s nice to be with people with the same complaint and take positive action to keep well.”
COPD is a condition where the airways become inflamed and the air sacs in the lungs become damaged. This causes the airways to become narrower, which makes it harder to breathe in and out.
There is no cure for COPD, but there are lots of treatments available to help individuals manage the condition, improve their symptoms and live an active life.
Symptoms of COPD include wheezing, breathlessness when resting or active, a tight chest, coughing and producing more mucus or phlegm than usual.
The symptoms may be all the time or they might appear or get worse when individuals have an infection or breathe in smoke or fumes. Individuals may need oxygen therapy.
Terry Littlewood (70), of Surfleet, has had COPD for ten years and has begun attending the clinic, seeking improved fitness and company.
He said: “With COPD when you are well you feel like a fraud and when you get an attack you’re scared stiff.”
The clinic launched at the Ivo Day Centre, Albion Street, Spalding, 2pm to 4pm, Thursdays, in August and is already attracting around a dozen people per week.
It is designed to recognise that people are often the experts on their own situation and condition and therefore those who attend have a large say in what it includes.
Sessions are attended by Lincolnshire Community Health Services (LCHS) respiratory clinicians and opportunities are often available for one-to-ones as well as group advice and information.
The sessions are intended to be informal and people do not have to attend every one. There will be talks and demonstrations on relevant subjects such as benefits, suitable exercise, medication, physiotherapy and safety in the home.
The sessions also provide a valuable social opportunity and include time to chat, with free refreshments.
Pauline Spring (73), of Holbeach, has had COPD for around 14 years.
She said: “We have all got the same problem whether it is severe or not severe and can discuss between ourselves the problems. We can have a good talk to each other and make friends.”
The clinic also offers an opportunity to find out about and share information on other services available in the local area such as regular health walks that take place, including in Ayscoughfee Gardens, Spalding, at 11am on Friday mornings – social, informal, low intensity walks open to all. Some light tailored exercise may become a regular part of the clinic.
South Lincolnshire CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) is working with partners including Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS) to deliver the clinic, based on the RIPPLE model developed in Coventry.
Funding is in place for it to continue to the end of March next year and the impact of the clinic will be reviewed over the later period with a view to developing a business case for continued funding in 2017/18 and beyond.
Seed funding of £25,000 to support the set-up and running costs of the clinic has been provided by the Health Foundation.
LCVS’s Healthy Living Team is facilitating the group to help ensure it delivers what people want and need.
To find out more about the COPD community clinic contact LCVS’s Healthy Living Team at its Spalding office on 01205 510888 option 3, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go along to the Ivo Day Centre, Albion Street, Spalding, 2pm to 4pm, Thursdays.
• LCVS is a registered charity with teams in Boston, South Holland, South Kesteven and East Lindsey. LCVS works to help community-minded individuals and groups to get established, achieve their goals and flourish through providing support with paperwork and governance, resources, sourcing funding and finding and training volunteers.
LCVS runs accredited Volunteer Centres in Boston, Spalding, Louth and Grantham.
In addition, the LCVS Healthy Living Team offers health advice and support via individual, group and remote sessions. It also offers workplace health packages and guest speakers.