Case study 2

Volunteers from Breathers offer a wide range of support in the Community. Joe and Mick visit schools throughout Cornwall, encouraging young people not to start smoking and research carried out by schools strongly suggests that this method of working with young people is having a very positive impact. As well as this vital piece of work, which significantly reduces the possibility of COPD in future and strengthens Breathers links within the community, Joe and Mick also attend a variety of meetings within the medical profession to make sure that the views of those suffering from COPD are represented. The group are regularly updated on the progress of these meetings at our weekly meetings. Another aspect of the work is that they regularly support and assist new groups starting up, to enable those groups to benefit from Breathers learning and development over the years.

It was through contact with a group in St Ives that Mick came into contact with a woman who suffered with COPD but who, following a bad fall, also had a very painful arm. Because of this she was anxious about joining the group as she did not feel able to participate in the exercises due to her poorly arm. She asked Mick if he thought it would be OK if she attended the group, but instead of doing the exercises she would help with the the tea making and other domestic help. She progressed to a very successful outcome. After a few weeks the lady had grown in confidence and the extra activity lead to her being able to raise her arm and reach things that were previously difficult. She is now more confident in taking part in some of the exercises and her friends report she is much happier and more positive.

As well as this kind of support, telephone contact is also offered on a regular basis. The group is currently supporting to a man who has lost his confidence and because of this has become housebound. Slowly Breathers are trying, through various means, to encourage this man to feel more confident and to assist him in trying to overcome his fears and venture out into the community, perhaps initially supported by others in the group. In this instance Breathers were asked for their support by carers that visit him at home.

Sadly there can come a time when COPD sufferers are so unwell they become bedridden and in these cases group members have visited people at their homes.