Case study 1

Joe Barr was driving his grandchildren to school early one morning, as he usually does, when he received a telephone call from his wife at home. Mrs Barr had received a worrying phone call from a woman experiencing extreme breathing difficulties and she asked Joe to phone the woman urgently.

Joe immediately phoned the woman who was very breathless and frightened but was able to ask “Please tell me how much worse than this can it get?”. Joe remained calm and managed to encourage her to concentrate on blowing and breathing calmly. At one point the woman’s phone went dead, but Joe managed to get back to her.

The woman told Joe that she had met him at a Pulmonary Rehabilitation group where he had talked enthusiastically about the Breather’s Group. Joe was also reassured when told that she was seeing her GP later that day. Joe asked her if he could phone her at the end of the day to check everything was OK.

When Joe phoned later in the day the lady reported feeling much improved and more relaxed.

This case study offers an insight into an often hidden aspect of the work of the Breather’s Group in supporting others affected by COPD. There are times when just being there, listening and showing care are vital for people in this situation; support which is not always available but is very valuable as it can be so helpful to talk to someone with the same condition when you are feeling anxious or scared.