CLASSES are on the way to help people in Hartlepool and East Durham to cope with chronic chest conditions.
The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is to offer education classes for people who have been diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
The whole idea is to “put people in control” of their conditions.
Anyone who has the disease should first take advice from the professionals if they are interested in taking up the offer.
Organisers of the new initiative say the free classes will be led by respiratory nurses and physiotherapists.
The aim is that they will help people to understand their condition and give them the correct tips on how to stay healthy and well.
Dorothy Wood is the senior clinical matron in the area of respiratory matters.
She said the new pulmonary education programme was “for newly diagnosed COPD patients or patients who have COPD but are not particularly troubled by it.
“We aim to improve people’s knowledge and skill to manage their condition and make sure they are aware of the services available to help them when they don’t feel particularly well.”
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.
People with COPD have difficulties breathing, and this is mainly because of the narrowing of their airways.
Dorothy explained more on why the new classes were so important.
“As COPD is a progressive disease it can begin to affect a person’s breathing and confidence when they least expect it to, so we hope that by showing them some basic exercises to maintain their fitness and providing tips on keeping well individuals will find their diagnosis of COPD less troublesome than it needs to be by putting them in control.”
Classes will be available in Hartlepool, Stockton, Seaham and Peterlee at a variety of venues.
People are being urged to contact their GP in the first instance if they are interested in attending.
The classes have proved popular with patients and have helped to ease any concerns.
Alan Taylor, from Stockton, who has used the service, said: “The staff are excellent, I’ve had a lot of worries which have been ironed out and I found it very beneficial.
“It has given me an alternative to get out of the black tunnel.”