Princess Alexandra: App aids hospital’s work to help COPD patients

Health / Wed 28th Nov 2018 at 06:12am

App aids hospital’s work to help COPD patients

THE cold weather heightens risks of illness, but for some people winter poses more dangers than most. People with respiratory diseases can be more prone to complications from flu and other winter ailments – but now clinicians at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, have an app specifically for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – a major respiratory illness.

COPD is a debilitating condition that affects the lungs and airways, making breathing difficult. On World COPD Day today (21 November), Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) is encouraging patients, relatives and the public to find out more about the condition. They are also urging patients to take up the option of a free flu vaccination. The hospital has been providing immunisation to patients over 65 years old, but this year has started offering the vaccination to patients under the age of 65 who are attending outpatient appointments and are in the at-risk group.

World COPD Day is an opportunity to bring attention to a condition that affects an estimated three million people in the UK, according to NHS Choices. Patients in west Essex are now benefiting from a pilot scheme and have been using the app to manage their condition. The MyCOPD app provides a range of advice and information, such as inhaler technique, a pulmonary rehabilitation exercise programme and tips on managing an exacerbation of the condition.

The respiratory team held an information stand at the hospital on Wednesday, when staff demonstrated the app, and patients not already using the app could see for themselves its many uses.

Bindu Karthikeyan, respiratory nurse specialist, said: “Nobody wants to be in hospital, and this app can help you control your condition and lead a more normal life; so make sure to ask about the app if you are a COPD patient attending the hospital or visiting your GP surgery. Ask for the respiratory liaison nurse who will be pleased to help.”

As PAHT is the acute trust offering the treatment for the wider community, once the pilot study is successful, Public Health England, the sponsor of MyCOPD app, may expand the service to other Clinical Commissioning Group areas.

Sharon McNally, Director of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “COPD is a long-term condition that can be particularly unpleasant in winter, so I am very pleased that we are able to offer the app, reflecting the NHS message ‘Help us help you’.

She added: “Being immunised is a first step in fighting flu, so we would encourage all at risk groups to have the free vaccination.”

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