Giving people a voice to influence positive change in health and social care

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Improving the health and wellbeing of people living with COPD in Bridgwater, Somerset

About the project

Respiratory disease is a major cause of ill-health and death in Somerset, and there are more cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in Bridgwater than many other areas of England and the county.

Through this community engagement project we want to improve diagnosis, care, and support for people in Bridgwater who have COPD.

We want to:

  • Reach and represent people living with chronic respiratory disease (diagnosed and undiagnosed)
  • Build and share understanding of their health and care needs
  • Improve community support to the reduce health inequalities they experience
  • Inspire people to take positive action to live well.

Listening and learning to help local people live well

We are working with local people who have COPD, as well as their families, friends, carers and supporters. We will listen and learn to understand what support is needed to help people with COPD get information, access health and care services, and take action to live well.

We will be asking people to share their views and experiences with us and our volunteer Community Connectors.

We are delivering this project independently on behalf of Somerset’s Integrated Care System which includes Somerset Council and NHS Somerset.

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Events in Bridgwater:

  • Sing 2 Breathe
    Continuing to run every month until
    December 2024
    Find out more…
  • Drop-in support group for people with COPD
    This ran until May 2024 as part of our project
    Find out more…

Volunteer as a Community Connector

We’re recruiting a team of local volunteer Community Connectors to help us with this project. If you live in Bridgwater and you or someone you know has COPD, or you have a good understanding of respiratory disease and health inequalities, your support will make a huge difference.

By sharing your time and experience, you will help improve the health and wellbeing of the people you love and support, and of your wider community. You will also have opportunities to gain new skills and experiences and to meet new people.

For more information contact Wendy Coward, Project Coordinator:
Phone 07884 370503
Email wendy.coward@evolvingcommunities.co.uk

Find out more

What is COPD?

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It’s the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

It mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke or have smoked, though the risk also increases if you are exposed to dust fumes and chemicals at work, or if you had chest trouble or asthma in childhood.

There are treatments and medications that can help people breath more easily and be more active. There’s also a lot people can do themselves to manage their condition and this will make a big difference to their quality of life.

For more information about COPD and support in your area, visit the Asthma and Lung UK website. For information about living with and managing COPD, visit the NHS England website.

Why COPD in Bridgwater?

  • Respiratory diseases cause more deaths in Somerset than any other type of condition apart from cancers and circulatory diseases. (Source: Public Health England – INHALE Profile)
  • Bridgwater has a relatively high level of COPD (national prevalence is 1.9%, Bridgwater is 2.3% with 3.3% in more deprived areas).
  • Less than 50% of people in these areas have had an annual review with their GP, so many will not be receiving support or have been diagnosed with COPD.
  • Bridgwater is among the 20% most deprived areas in England and is one of Somerset’s areas of greatest deprivation, long term illness and disability.
  • Bridgwater had the largest proportion of its population unvaccinated against Covid-19 (dose 1) which indicates barriers to accessing healthcare systems. (Somerset’s Covid Vaccination mapping exercise)
  • NHS England has identified chronic respiratory disease as a priority for local action to help reduce health inequalities.

Contact us

For more information about the project and to find out how to get involved, contact:

Wendy Coward, Project Coordinator
Email wendy.coward@evolvingcommunities.co.uk
Phone 07884 370503

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