COPD – Story 3

Barbara is a 62 year old lady who has suffered with COPD for 15 years; she also suffers with complex partial seizures, cerebral aneurysms and Addison’s disease. On referral into the programme she could manage to walk about 25 metres, she was a current smoker, BMI of 25.1 just over the healthy range, she had five admissions and frequent chest infection in the twelve months leading up to her referral to us.

Barbara was diagnosed with partial complex seizures in the last year and unfortunately when she gets a chest infection this exasperates the seizures. Barbara has struggled with this and at times has been very low in mood, during the calls emotional support has proven very beneficial for Barbara as she admitted that she could tell me things that she was unable to say to family and friends. By the end of the programme Barbara was managing the seizures well and her mood had improved dramatically over the previous months even though she had fractured 2 of her vertebrae and was in a full body brace, she was still very positive about her health.

During her time on the programme Barbara was diagnosed with suspected cancer and found this a very worrying and stressful time, we explored this and how it was effecting her mood, ways to manage the anxiety including self-help techniques and possible counselling. Barbara found the calls really helpful during this time to discuss her emotions and worries, she admitted that she really felt listened to and understood. Barbara was given the all clear two months later and was thankful for the support that she received during this difficult time.

Initially we discussed smoking and the benefits of quitting, Barbara has given up in the past for 5 years but due to personal circumstances had started again 10 weeks before commencing the programme. On several occasions we discussed the benefit of given up for her health and financial gains. Barbara has been very aware of her smoking and the effect this may be having on her health, she did continue to smoke through the programme until Jan 21015 and has now successfully been smoke free for 11 months.
During the calls we have explored the inactivity cycle and how this can affect her breathing; Barbara now has a good understanding of this and is aware of ways to help improve her breathlessness. Barbara has been increasing her exercises with using her exercise bike, using milk bottles as weights and walking more often until she fractured her spine. To assist with Barbara and her breathlessness we have also explored breathing techniques, including paced breathing and blow as you go to assist her in his daily life and when she is completing her exercises. She is using these techniques whenever she starts to experience breathlessness.

On several calls we have explored chest infection triggers and action would take in these situations regarding using her rescue meds, especially as these infections exasperate her seizures. Barbara is happy with the way she now manages her infections and to commence her rescue meds when needed.

Barbara is now up to date with her immunisations, flu and pneumonia. We have explored winter precautions, using scarfs, keeping warm and how exercise can assist with this. Using her inhalers before she leaves the house to help prepare her lungs for the change in temperature, breathing through her nose to allow the air longer to warm up before it gets to her lungs and avoiding people who maybe ill. Barbara has taken this on board and adapted her lifestyle to incorporate these changes.

Barbara has suffered with frequent chest infections and admissions before her referral, during the calls we have focussed in chest infection triggers and what to do to manage them, this coaching has proven very effective as it has reduced her admissions from 5 – 3 in the last 12 months.

Barbara has expressed extreme satisfaction with the calls and the support that it has given her, she is currently on the last 8 weeks of the step down process.