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Jack's story (COPD)

Couple walking with a dogJack (67) called the Advice Line after being newly diagnosed with COPD and started on inhalers. He said he had been becoming increasingly short of breath and was feeling very anxious, and he was keen to know how to help himself deal with his condition.

Jack admitted that he was a smoker and despite several attempts he was finding it very difficult to stop. He told the nurse that he was a keen gardener and was worried that he won’t be able to continue to look after his garden now he has COPD.

The Advice Line nurse explained to Jack what COPD is, discussed his inhalers and recommended that he make an appointment with his practice nurse to get his inhaler technique checked. She discussed ways in which Jack could keep himself healthy, such as ensuring he has a balanced diet, taking regular exercise, cutting down on alcohol, and getting help to stop smoking.

She signposted him to a smoking support helpline and local smoking cessation classes to help him to quit. The nurse explained how important it is to prevent chest infections, advised Jack to get his flu jab early each winter, and told him about strategies to deal with breathlessness and anxiety.

She also sent Jack the CHSS Living with COPD (PDF) booklet and CHSS Traffic Lights for COPD information leaflet, a CD of relaxation exercises, and factsheets on Breathing Control during Activity, Stopping Smoking (PDF), Living with Stress and Anxiety (PDF), Healthy Eating (PDF), and Coping with Tiredness and Fatigue (PDF).

Jack was referred to a CHSS chest support group, and signposted to a gardening organisation which supports people who are living with long-term conditions such as COPD, through therapeutic horticulture.