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Empowering Bridgwater residents to live well: Focus group aims to help transform lives of COPD patients

by | Oct 23, 2023 | Evolving Communities Consultancy, Health & Care Services, Healthwatch Somerset

The Victoria Park Community Centre in Bridgwater, Somerset, will host an important event on Thursday 2 November, from 10am to 3pm, dedicated to enhancing the lives of Bridgwater residents who live with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Evolving Communities CIC and Healthwatch Somerset, in collaboration with NHS Somerset, are working together to empower people in Bridgwater who are affected by COPD, aiming to help them lead lives that are not just healthy, but also fulfilling.

This initiative involves reaching out to local people who have COPD, as well as their families, friends, and caregivers, to gain valuable insights into their needs. This will inform decisions about how to provide the necessary support for accessing healthcare services, obtaining vital information, and taking proactive steps towards living well.

Emma Savage, NHS Somerset Deputy Director of Quality and Improvement, will welcome people to the event and explain how the NHS is listening to local people to help improve services and support in Somerset.

Book to join the focus group and share your views

If you live with COPD in Bridgwater you are invited to join the focus group discussion on Thursday 30 November (revised date), to share your views and experiences with the project team (booking is required). Attendees who have COPD will receive £25 vouchers as a gesture of appreciation. Those willing to go the extra mile by volunteering as a Community Connector or featuring as a case study, could win a £100 supermarket voucher.

To book your place, get in touch with Wendy Coward, Project Coordinator, via email: wendy.coward@healthwatchsomerset.co.uk or phone  07884 370503.

Find out more

Why focus on COPD in Bridgwater?

Respiratory diseases continue to be a significant cause of health-related issues and mortality in Somerset. Among these, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has a higher prevalence in Bridgwater compared to many other regions in England and the county. However, less than 50% of people in Bridgwater have had an annual review with their GP, meaning many are not receiving support or have not been diagnosed with COPD.

Understanding COPD:

COPD is an umbrella term for a group of lung conditions causing breathing difficulties, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It primarily affects middle-aged or older adults, especially those with a history of smoking or exposure to environmental hazards.

Effective treatments and medications are available to enhance breathing capacity and overall activity levels. Individuals can also take proactive measures to manage their condition, significantly enhancing their quality of life.

About the COPD project:

This community engagement project has been devised to enhance diagnosis, care, and support for COPD patients in Bridgwater. The objectives are to:

  • Reach out, collaborate with and represent individuals living with COPD and chronic respiratory conditions, both diagnosed and undiagnosed.
  • Foster a deeper understanding of their healthcare needs and requirements.
  • Improve community support to alleviate health disparities they may face.
  • Encourage positive actions towards living well.

Volunteer Community Connectors are being recruited to assist with this initiative. If you reside in Bridgwater and either have COPD or possess a comprehensive understanding of respiratory diseases and health inequalities, your contribution will help improve health and wellbeing of your community and loved ones.

Listen to The Somerset Emotional Wellbeing Podcast (castos.com) on COPD and health inequalities

In this episode, hosts Dr Peter Bagshaw and Dr Andrew Tresidder are joined by Wendy Coward from Healthwatch Somerset and Emma Savage from NHS Somerset to discuss what COPD is and what health inequalities are, how they are connected, and why the Bridgwater COPD initiative has been launched as part of NHS England’s Core20PLUS5 programme.

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