Friday 16 November 2018



To celebrate World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day on Wednesday 14th of November, Bass Coast Health (BCH) recently invited some of their valued local donors to the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Group at Cowes to see some of their generous donations in action.


The Phillip Island RSL-based ‘Dirty Dozen’ golf team raised over $6,000 for the equipment through the Nell Haslett Charity Golf Day held at Cowes earlier this year.  Last week they visited BCH’s Phillip Island Health Hub, to see how the equipment they donated is helping clients improve their pulmonary function.


Dirty Dozen Team Captain Rob Brown said, “The money we raised enabled BCH to purchase four pulse oximeters and a smokealyzer. The pulse oximeters record your heart beat and oxygen levels, and we’re delighted that these are now being used not only by the pulmonary rehabilitation program, but also by the District Nurses. The smokealyzer records carbon monoxide levels and can help people who want to quit smoking”.


The next Nell Haslett Charity Golf Day will be held on the 17th of February at the Cowes Golf Club and promises to be even bigger than last year’s event which was sold out.


“We’re encouraging people who want to play in the four person Ambrose event to sign up early so they don’t miss out”, says Rob. “We’ve also increased the sponsorship for the upcoming event, which has been generously provided by local businesses, so that’s really pleasing”, Rob said.


The money raised will be used to purchase equipment for BCH’s pulmonary rehabilitation groups.


The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Groups, held at Wonthaggi and Cowes, are facilitated by BCH Clinical Nurse Consultant Denise Escreet, who runs weekly sessions for the eight week program.  This program runs continuously throughout the year and offers education, supported exercises and individual consultations for people with asthma or other respiratory diseases. During the program, Denise also consults with other allied health professionals at BCH, such as Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, so that clients have a range of expert advice and support available to help them achieve their goals.


The theme of this year’s World COPD Day is ‘Never too early. Never too late’ – something Denise says is always important to remember.


“One in seven people over 40 years of age have COPD and many don’t know they have it. People often mistake their signs and symptoms as signs of ageing or lack of fitness”, she says.


But an early diagnosis can be critical in improving your outcomes and quality of life.


“A correct and early diagnosis can dramatically improve a person’s quality of life. It means they can access the supports we provide sooner, such as how to use inhaled medications properly, having a COPD Plan developed or learning strategies about how to manage and improve every day symptoms”, she said.


COPD is a progressive lung condition that results in obstruction, or blockage, of airflow in the breathing tubes or airways of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Sometimes air gets tapped in the lungs causing a feeling of breathlessness. When the condition occurs it is chronic (long-term) and airflow is therefore usually permanent or irreversible, so early diagnosis is key. COPD is an umbrella term for emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma.


Anyone can get COPD, however your risk can be increased if you smoke or have ever smoked, if you currently work or have ever worked in a job that exposed you to dust, gas, fumes or chemicals, or if you have a family history of lung disease.


Denise says it’s never too late to quit smoking. “Research has shown that quitting may stop symptoms from getting worse. The sooner you stop smoking, the longer you are likely to live”.


Although there is no cure, it is possible for people to live well after a diagnosis of COPD, and there are things you can do to stay out of hospital and improve or maintain a good quality of life, including keeping active, making your life a smoke-free zone, getting immunized against pneumonia and influenza, maintaining a healthy diet and making sure you observe good hand hygiene.


Denise advises clients to become more active by scheduling at least 30 minutes of exercise or activity into each day.


“Exercise doesn’t need to be done all in one 30 minute block. It’s fine to exercise for ten minutes three times a day, or fifteen minutes twice a day. One of the benefits of our pulmonary rehab program is that it gives people confidence to continue to exercise by providing a safe and enjoyable environment to initially start exercising”, she says.


BCH will be displaying information about COPD support services at local pharmacies this week and has more information about their Pulmonary Rehabilitation program available on their website at basscoasthealth.org.au/services/clinical nurse specialists/asthma and pulmonary rehabilitation or call 5671 3343 to find out more.


For more information about the Nell Haslett Charity Golf Day, contact Rob Brown on 0418 121 424. Entry forms are available from Pristine Pools, Settlement Road, Cowes.

For more information about BCH's Pulmonary Rehabilitation program, call 5671 3343.

Pictured (Back row, L-R): Bill Waters (BCH Pulmonary Rehab group), Claire McShane (BCH Physiotherapist) and Shirley Jeffries (BCH Pulmonary Rehab group).

(Middle row, L-R): Colin Bows (BCH Pulmonary Rehab group), Chris Cannin (Dirty Dozen Golf Team), Robyn Collins (BCH Allied Health Assistant) & Rob Brown Dirty Dozen Golf Team Captain).

Front row, (L-R): Denise Escreet (BCH Pulmonary Rehabilitation Facilitator), Bill Haslett (Dirty Dozen Golf Team) and Joe Borg (BCH Pulmonary Rehab group).