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Patient Voices: Easy breathing

 

Easy breathing

The stories in the Easy breathing series were created in Homerton, London in November 2012. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a long-term condition that is debilitating for patients and resource hungry for service providers. This Patient Voices project aimed to facilitate both innovative professionals and committed patients in telling and sharing the stories of the experiences, motivation and hopes in order that they can shed some light on the path to better services and better practice in COPD care.


Coming out
Despite being nearly 80, Anne loves exercise and gardening, walking her dog and photography. She has never smoked. Some things affect her breathing – fresh paint, or the smoke from a neighbours barbeque.
An asthma attack as a result of an allergic response brings tests and investigations – tests that reveal Anne may have cancer. After surgery it is 18 months before she can get back out exercising again but, while the surgery is effective, it not until she gets involved with ACERS and pulmonary rehab in a community setting that she learns how to manage her medication and condition most effectively.

Small impact, big difference
Matthew has brought new multi-disciplinary approaches to COPD care and support for his patients. What took him away from the drama of A and E to devote his career to people invisible, silent symptoms.

Making a difference
Healthcare wasn’t going to be Laura’s career path, but a gap year in Africa changed all that. She became a physiotherapist, but not quite the sort of physiotherapist that people expect…

The eleventh hour
A chronic illness like COPD is a life-changing condition. Delayed diagnosis means Mary has to come to terms with all the changes that it will mean to her career, her finances and her lifestyle. But through the pulmonary rehab programme she learns to manage and improve her condition, and through her own determination, enthusiasm and contacts she begins to build a new, different and rewarding life.

Just around the corner
Moving from the quiet lanes of East Anglia to the bustle of London means leaving her beloved cottage garden behind, but it does open up to Pat a whole range of COPD services and support that is localised and tailored to her needs.

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