Written by COPD Support Ireland
World COPD Day is almost upon us once again, when on Nov 15th we will once more recognise the reach that this progressive disease has. However, although there are an estimated 380,000 people living with COPD in Ireland, it is thought that approximately 270,000 of these are unaware that they may have this serious and progressive lung condition.
COPD Support Ireland has been working tirelessly for several years now to raise the profile of the condition that is COPD so that more people are aware of what it actually is, if they or a loved one may have the symptoms of it and what assistance is available to help them to live their lives with this disease.
Though Covid slowed down the work that we could do we are now back stronger than ever and in the process of opening new COPD support groups all over the country. These support groups are made up of people who are living with a diagnosis of COPD and who wish to keep themselves active to ensure they are living their best life. Specifically designed exercise classes are run in each of these groups weekly with a fully qualified trainer and the physical, social, and emotional wellbeing that members get from being a part of these groups is hugely beneficial to their overall wellbeing.
“Living with a debilitating condition can be a lonely and very worrying place to be. Depression is not uncommon. Having a community of fellow sufferers to meet up with once a week (or more) provides an immeasurable sense of belonging and solidarity. Exchanging stories, “chewing the beef”, having a good laugh, and just providing each other with simple words of encouragement and care go a long, long way to boosting one’s confidence and self-esteem.”
– Wexford COPD Support & Exercise Group Member
We would encourage anyone who has been diagnosed with COPD to contact us to see if we have a local support group near them. We also welcome referrals from healthcare professionals which can be made on an electronic referral form hosted on our website www.copd. ie in the Healthcare Professionals section or on a printed version that can be requested via email@example.com Membership is free and we can have you signed up in no time!
We are establishing new groups all the time so if we don’t have one in your area yet then don’t worry it may be on its way to you soon. In the meantime, we have online exercise classes which COPD patients can join to ensure that they are not missing out on regular exercise which is so important for those living with COPD.
As well as exercise classes our groups offer social events and a network of members who are always ready to help or offer advice on how they deal with the impacts of COPD on their lives. This type of backup can be hugely beneficial to someone living with COPD, who may be experiencing a decline in their ability to perform activities of daily living following an exacerbation of their condition.
“Since I joined COPD Support Ireland approximately six years ago it has benefited me in more ways than one. I was prone to chest infections and had to take antibiotics and steroids on a regular basis. I find both the breathing and general exercising each week has helped me greatly. The social side of meeting up on a weekly basis has proved to be great asset to us all as well. A lot of our members live alone, and they look forward to meeting up each week and find the regular exercise routine a great asset to their everyday life.” – Limerick COPD Support & Exercise Group Member
The growth of COPD Support Ireland has been made possible by the tireless work of our members who run their support groups with the backup of our staff. This year we are delighted to have been supported by the National Clinical Programme, Respiratory in receiving funding from the HSE Enhanced Community Care Programme which has allowed for us to establish 18 additional support and exercise groups and provide services for more people living with COPD in Ireland. Being able to provide these invaluable services to COPD patients is hugely important to us and drives the work that we do. With an estimated 130,000 people diagnosed with COPD and almost double that estimated to be undiagnosed, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that everyone living with this chronic lung disease is receiving the support they need and want.
For World COPD Day this year we are joining an international network of COPD professionals and organisations to participate in the Global Big Baton Pass challenge. This will take place on World COPD Day, Nov 15th, 2023. On that day we will be asking people to do whatever exercise they can, to record it and let us know what you have achieved. It may be walking a few more steps than normal, a walk around your house or to the local shop. For the more adventurous of you it might be a bike ride, a swim, a hike, some gardening or just walking the dog. You might want to do a group activity with your work colleagues such as a lunchtime walk, run or indoor step challenge (it is Ireland in November after all!). Whatever it is we would love for you to let us know so we can add it to Irelands’ national total of activity for the day. On this global stage, we would love to show how dedicated Irish people are to raising the profile of COPD and as the Virtual Baton passes through Ireland, we will be live broadcasting from COPD Support Ireland’s World COPD Day HQ, sharing the work that we do and highlighting the work that all health professionals in Ireland do for those living with COPD. Further details on how you can register your activity for the day can be found on www.copd.ie or you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 083 4095250.
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