World COPD Day fell on Wednesday 21 November, and Willow Wood used this day to raise awareness both of the condition, and awareness of the fact that we can help those who have the condition.

Many of you may not know what COPD is: it is in fact an umbrella term, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which describes a number of lung conditions.  These include bronchitis, emphysema and refractory (non-reversible) asthma, all of which make breathing more difficult as they progress.  Symptoms can vary, but include breathlessness, frequent coughing, tightness in the chest, and wheezing.

It can be a very debilitating condition, and as it progresses leads to a lower quality of life.  Many can end up needing oxygen to help them breathe.  However, Willow Wood can help people self-manage and take some control back.  A first step in this direction could be by joining our O2 cafes, which meet on Mondays or Wednesdays.

We can provide both physiotherapy and complementary therapies; physiotherapy can help both with exercise and with breathing techniques, while our complementary therapies aid relaxation, and thus a better quality of sleep.   Emotional support can be a huge benefit; making friendships and talking to others with COPD can open up new horizons and make you feel so much more positive.

Our highly trained staff and volunteers are always on hand should you need further support, and they will also help you understand and manage the condition.  The more you understand your symptoms and treatments, the better able you are to cope with any flare-ups, possibly reducing the need for a hospital visit.

Some members of the O2 café have been coming for many months now, like Janet who said “I’ve been coming since October 2017, and I love it.  It’s my day out in the week and the support I get is fantastic.”   Lorraine agrees, “Everyone says how much happier I am now, I really think I wouldn’t be here without Willow Wood – I was ready to go. Initially, I didn’t want to come, I was shaking, but it’s helped me so much I couldn’t do without it now.  I even cancel other appointments if they clash with the O2 café.”

If you feel that you may benefit, please ring 0161 330 1100 and ask for the START Clinic.