The Trust's specialist respiratory nurse has a Trust wide role that offers support and education to health care professionals, patients and their families. She is involved with the care and treatment of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Asthma, respiratory failure and Bronchiectasis.
Patients with long-term respiratory disease are managed by the specialist respiratory nurse who ensures a holistic and cross boundary approach to their treatment and care.
The specialist respiratory nurse's role is to help prevent admission and empower patient to manage his or her own disease. The nurse is happy for patients to contact her via the switchboard for advice and support.
What is COPD
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 trouble breathing in and out. This is referred to as airflow obstruction.
Breathing difficulties are caused by long-term damage to the lungs, usually because of smoking.
How common is COPD?
COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK. It usually affects people over the age of 35.
The main cause of COPD is smoking. The likelihood of developing COPD increases the more you smoke and the longer you've been smoking.
The effects of COPD
People with COPD have trouble breathing in and out, known as airflow obstruction. Their lungs become inflamed due to irritation, usually from cigarette smoke.
Over many years, the inflammation leads to permanent changes in the lung. The walls of the airways get thicker in response to the inflammation and more mucus is produced. Damage to the delicate walls of the air sacs in the lungs means the lungs lose their normal elasticity. It becomes much harder to breathe, especially when you exert yourself. The changes in the lungs cause the symptoms of breathlessness, cough and phlegm associated with COPD.
Although any damage that has already occurred to your lungs cannot be reversed, you can prevent COPD from developing or getting worse by making lifestyle changes.
Treatment for COPD usually involves relieving the symptoms, for example by using an inhaler to make breathing easier.