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Adviceline for those living with lung disease COPD launched

Author: Petrina Vousden
01 July 2016

Thousands of people living with lung disease COPD in Ireland have been given access to a dedicated adviceline. COPD Support Ireland announced the launch of the new National COPD Adviceline today (Friday 1st July).

The Adviceline which is staffed by clinical nurse specialists is a collaboration between COPD Support Ireland, the Asthma Society of Ireland and the Health Service Executive.

The COPD Adviceline is available at 1800 83 21 46. Callers can access the service by calling the free phone number between 09:00 and 17:00 Monday to Friday. A call back appointment with an experienced respiratory nurse specialist will be scheduled for a time and day that suits each individual caller.

COPD Support Ireland, executive director Damien Peelo said: “It’s a fantastic service for people with COPD. Many people when they get diagnosed with COPD are left frightened, worried and scared. They are told very little about the disease and often just get an inhaler.

“They then go home and Google COPD and get even more scared and more frightened. But with this helpline they will have clinical nurse specialists with experience in COPD at the end of the phone to give them reassurance and support. The nurses will be able to help them through their first days after diagnosis.

“And it’s not just for people who are newly diagnosed. It’s for people who have been diagnosed for many years and may have concerns about the management of their conditions. The nurses can support them along their journey with the illness. People who are caring for someone with COPD may also use the service for advice”

Mr  Peelo, said he believes the service will be crucial to improving the lives of people living with COPD:

“At COPD Support Ireland our focus is on maintaining people’s health for longer, through early diagnosis, by keeping people out of acute hospitals through our support and self-management programmes.

“It has been clear to us for some time that people living with COPD need access to expertise at the end of a phone.”

He said learning to live with a live long chronic illness requires ongoing support and advice. 

Mr Peelo added: We are delighted to collaborate with the Asthma Society of Ireland on the development of this service, as they have a proven track record in running an adviceline to the highest standard. As a relatively new organisation, this is incredibly exciting to offer people living with COPD such a vital service.”

There are 110,000 people living with COPD in Ireland but it’s estimated that about 300,000 have the condition but have yet to be diagnosed.

Asthma and COPD are two of the largest chronic diseases in Ireland with 850,000 people living with either asthma or COPD.  While the Asthma Society has been operating an Asthma Adviceline for over 25 years, this new expanded service meets the needs of an increasing population with COPD.

Pheena Kenny, Head of Health Promotion with the Asthma Society of Ireland said“Having recently received accreditation for our Asthma Adviceline we are delighted to be expanding the service to meet the needs of even more people with chronic respiratory conditions.

“While asthma and COPD are lifelong conditions, they can be managed and the Adviceline nurses play a key role in empowering people to understand how to manage their condition through the provision of 1-1 tailored information and support. Our nurses are expert in the areas of asthma and COPD and they can make follow-up calls to people as necessary. We encourage people with asthma and or COPD to make use of this free and valuable service’.

Head of Planning, Performance and Programme Management in the Primary Care Division of the HSE Brian Murphy said: 

“The HSE is delighted to support this initiative which will offer tailored support and advice to people living with asthma and COPD.  The HSE has worked closely with the Asthma Society of Ireland and COPD Support Ireland to develop this collaborative service which works in tandem with other health services which patients access.   I believe the new service is a great example of the added benefit that the charity and voluntary sector can bring by working in partnership with each other and the broader health service. We will continue to work closely with patients,  the Asthma Society of Ireland and COPD Support Ireland to make sure that the service is most effective.”

Further information and resources are available from:

www.asthma.ie

www.copd.ie

www.hse.ie

What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a disease that makes it hard to empty air out of your lungs.. This can result in shortness of breath or tiredness because you are working harder to breathe.

COPD is a term used to include chronic bronchitis, emphysema or a combination of both conditions.

Chronic bronchitis is caused by inflammation and increased mucus  in the airways. Because of the swelling and extra mucus the inside of the breathing tubes become smaller causing obstruction in airflow.

Emphysema is caused by damage to the air sacs of the lung.  Most people with COPD are smokers or have smoked in the past. Sometimes COPD is caused by working or living for many years in an environment where there is exposure to smoke, dust or other fumes. COPD mostly affects those over the age of 35. An inherited condition called ALPHA – 1 – ANTITRYPSIN deficiency can also cause COPD but this is quite rare.

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