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Breathless in Ireland – New COPD planning booklet launched

A new booklet to help people with one of Ireland’s most deadliest diseases, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to plan for all aspects of their future was officially launched today (Monday 26 March).
Planning for the Future with COPD, an initiative of COPD Support Ireland and the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) was unveiled by Dr Marcus Butler, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at St Vincent’s University Hospital.
COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including chronic bronchitis or emphysema. It is a long-term illness that cannot be cured. Over 500,000 people in Ireland have COPD. Ireland also has the highest rate of COPD admissions to hospital in the EU.
Speaking today, Dr Butler said: “The grim reality is COPD is the fourth major cause of death in Ireland after lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. Of the half a million Irish people projected to have the condition, less than half (200,000) have been diagnosed.”
“COPD is not one of those instantly recognisable conditions in the public’s mind, so introducing this literature, which focuses on managing COPD as well as opening up conversations around a more palliative care approach, is very welcome. There is no cure for COPD, but symptoms can be better controlled with early diagnosis.”
The booklet was crucially developed by people living with COPD, family carers, a respiratory healthcare professional, COPD Support Ireland and the IHF. It contains information on advance healthcare directives, planning legal affairs, talking to others about your wishes, palliative care needs and a list of other resources which people with COPD might find helpful.
Pauline O’Neill, from Drogheda, has been living with COPD since 2005. “I took part in the IHF and COPD workshops to develop this booklet to help other people with the condition talk about and plan for the future. I found it very difficult to talk about myself. I cried. But, it was the best thing I have ever done in terms of accepting my condition. It allowed me to talk about and plan everything I want for myself when the time comes. Now, my family and friends don’t have to panic and I can go on and live my life.”
CEO of COPD Support Ireland Bernie Murphy said: “COPD is often overlooked in the national health agenda because lung disease is not the most comfortable topic to discuss. However, we cannot ignore the large numbers of people in Ireland who have this condition and deserve to be looked after, informed and helped to manage the illness the best way they can.”
Marie Lynch, Head of Healthcare Programmes at the IHF: “We are very proud to be working with COPD Support Ireland and the rest of the working group to deliver this booklet. Through our own advance planning booklet Think Ahead, we have seen the powerful impact of people being in control of their wishes at the end of life. Giving people this platform to stay informed so they can make such difficult decisions not only gives people the gift of peace of mind, but their families too.”
You can download Planning for the Future with COPD here.
For more information about Think Ahead, go here.
The IHF receives core funding from Pobal from the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government’s Scheme to Support National Organisations 2016-2019.