A new peer support group for those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in the South Tipperary area will be launched at an open day in Clonmel.
Taking place on September 2 from 10.30am to 1pm in the Mick McCarthy Millennium Centre (Moyle Rovers GAA grounds), the group is aimed at people living with breathlessness, their family members and carers.
COPD is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in Ireland. It usually affects people over the age of 35. People with COPD have trouble breathing in and out, referred to as airflow obstruction. Breathing difficulties are caused by long-term damage to the lungs (usually because of smoking).
The open day in Clonmel will introduce a peer support and exercise group for people living with breathlessness secondary to COPD, asthma or related respiratory condition. It is a collaboration between the HSE/South East Community Healthcare’s Health and Wellbeing team, people living with breathlessness in South Tipperary, the COPD Support Ireland organisation and the South Tipperary General Hospital (STGH) respiratory services team. The initiative, which has been successful as a model in Wexford, is supported by a HSE/National Lottery grant from South East Community Health care (SECH).
Among those addressing the open day will be Kate Killeen White (chief officer, SECH), Maria Barry (general manager, STGH), Kate O’ Connor (self management support coordinator for chronic disease, SECH) and Eleanor Wall.
Ms Wall has been living with breathlessness and is a graduate of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme at STGH, which has been co-ordinated at the hospital since 2001 by senior respiratory physiotherapist Angela Radley O’Donovan). Speaking ahead of the open day, Ms Wall said: "I was in a wheelchair and struggling to speak going into pulmonary rehabilitation. After pulmonary rehab, I am back on my feet walking and have no problem speaking, and I am looking forward to encouraging others to exercise at this support group for South Tipperary. In addition to the open day, the group will be ongoing on Tuesdays from 11am-12pm at the same venue (Moyle Rovers GAA premises).”
SECH chief officer Kate Killeen White said the South Tipperary COPD peer support and exercise group will provide weekly fun exercise classes and an opportunity for people living with breathlessness to learn more about how to manage their condition from each other and local health care and community professionals.
STGH general manager Maria Barry said it will be a much needed community support that will assist patients and their families to exercise, be smoke free, and look after their physical and mental health while having fun and making friends.
Clonmel and District Wheelchair Society is kindly providing transport to the launch and ongoing support meetings. For further information contact Catriona.Renwick@hse.ie or text/call 087-2939881.
Back: Michael Drohan (Waterford COPD peer and exercise support Group), Caitriona Renwick (health and wellbeing, HSE/SECH), Philip Meaney (chairperson, Clonmel and District Wheelchair Society) and Anna O Dwyer (South Tipperary COPD peer and exercise support group).
Front: Angela Radley O’Donovan (senior respiratory physiotherapist, STGH), Eleanor Wall (South Tipperary COPD peer and exercise support group) and Martina O Brien (South Tipperary COPD peer and exercise support group).