The Empowered Patient Programme (EPP) is designed to take a holistic approach to enabling wellbeing in our members. We have the support of the ROCKET (Respiratory Outreach Corby Kettering and East Northants) team in the north of the county and the RESTART Respiratory Therapy Acute Response Team) in the south of the county who visit our Breathing Space groups regularly and give talks on various medical aspects of COPD. The nurses are also able to discuss any COPD related problems on a 1-1 basis.

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) makes breathing increasingly more difficult. But it develops slowly over many years and you may not be aware you have it at first. Further information is available from the NHS

What is Breathing Space?

Breathing Space is a partnership between Northamptonshire Carers and professionals and is funded by Nene & Corby Clinical Commissioning Groups. We meet locally twice a month to bring together people with COPD, their Carers and health professionals to provide mutual group support whilst providing medical advice on COPD. This advice ranges from how to manage your condition, how to access other services and reducing loneliness which can often be a by-product of long term health conditions.

Our Empowered Patient Programme

The groups provide a wealth of information about all aspects of an individuals Activities of Daily Living. It is well know that COPD has an impact in many different areas other than health, not only of the individual with COPD but their loved ones/carers. Therefore, all the clinical sessions, group activities, wellbeing sessions have been planned with your wellbeing in mind. There are 7 components of the EPP which can be accessed as needed.
• Inhaler techniques and medications
• Management of Exacerbations
• Breathing techniques, control and management of anxiety
• Exercise and Pulmonary Rehab
• Home Oxygen Service
• The Lungs and COPD

COPD & Wellbeing

Underpinning knowledge of your condition and how to manage it is the effects it can have on your wellbeing and how that can be improved, our Wellbeing Programme is covered by several components:

Sleep Hygiene 

How well do you sleep? Breathing difficulties, Sleep apnoea, restless legs, tossing and turning, thoughts going around your head. SLEEP HYGIENE is a session around developing healthy sleep habits and routine to enable a good night. This session works alongside our relaxation and anxiety management group and combined with a gentle exercise can help maintain a better night’s sleep.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can help to calm and focus you during times when you are experiencing difficulties with breathing, at times when you feels stressed or anxious, or at times when everything just gets too much. The Specialist nurses will teach you techniques on how to breath when you experience exacerbation of your symptoms, whilst the Wellbeing team will be using guided imagery -visualisation and mindfulness. Relaxation is known to help with anxiety/stress pain and sleep

Looking After Our Carers

As a carer you are legally entitled to a carers assessment if you would like to have one.

Having a carers assessment gives you the chance to think about how life has changed or has been affected by caring for someone.

It can give you an opportunity to talk through any issues and to identify any needs, information, advice or support that should be taken into account when planning.

An assessment can lead to a support plan. This would look at putting things in place for the future. Do you need to plan for when you are older? For when your loved ones condition deteriorates?

The assessment can be done over the phone, face to face, at your home or any other venue that suits you.

During the assessment you can talk about:

  • How caring may be affecting your health, wellbeing, work etc
  • What help you may need – equipment?
  • Emotional support – do you just need to talk to someone?
  • Coping with a crisis/emergency

The assessment can be done with the person you care for or independently if you prefer.

For further information please contact our Carers Support Line on 01933 677907 or Carers can self refer here.  Details of our wide range of service can be seen here.

Getting Active

COPD can be a debilitating disease. Shortage of breath on excursion can make people frighten to be active. Simple changes can make a big difference. A lady with COPD gave up cycling which had been her passion. She was a member of a cycling group so not only stopped cycling but missed out on the companionship of others, with the same interest. It was then suggested that she buy an e-bicycle. She was able to re-join her group, get out and about, peddling when able and switching to electric when needed.

The groups promote very gentle exercise in a fun way (with the emphasis on fun). Recently group members from all five of the BS groups performed a simple dance routine to ‘Mack the knife’ proving that you can exercise and have fun, even with a disease such as COPD. Whilst we hope you will join in these sessions, if you can’t or simply don’t want to, we don’t mind at all.

Smoking Cessation

We are happy to help and sign post you to specific groups that can support you in this area. When the time is right for you to give up and if you want to give up we will be there to support you in any way we can.

Wide Range of Expert Speakers

The team invites a host of speakers to attend the Breathing space groups, some of which are listed below. They come from a wide range of groups and organisations county wide to let you know what they do and how they can help to support you.
Age UK
First Aid in the home
U3A – University of the 3rd Age
• Forwards Planning – looking at our future care needs.
Boccia – gentle exercise
Ortago – balance & mobility
• Healthy diet and healthy brain
Help with finances and benefits.

Anxiety Management

• Physical symptoms of anxiety
• Psychological symptoms of anxiety
• Fight -flight-avoid
• The Behaviour-thought-emotion triangle

Anxiety can be very prominent during exacerbations of COPD and can make the symptoms experienced far more frightening and difficult to deal with. Carers understandably become anxious about their loved ones which can again affect all aspects of their activities of daily living.

Learning about anxiety and how it affects the body and mind is the first step in understanding, how our thoughts, behaviour’s and emotions can lead to distressing symptoms.