COPD Community Education Workshops in Montana and Michigan

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By Jane Martin, BA, LRT, CRT, Associate Director, Education, COPD Foundation

The COPD Foundation education department has been on the go! Since last fall, the Pulmonary Education Program (PEP) co-hosted two COPD Community Education workshops in Missoula, Montana and Midland, Michigan.

Missoula
On Saturday, September 19, 2015, over 80 people met at Providence Saint Patrick Hospital in beautiful Missoula, Montana to participate in a day of COPD education, information and support. Many thanks to our two PEP Pulmonary Rehab Centers in Missoula, led by Colleen Holmquist, BS, RRT at Community Medical Center and Susi Mathis, MS, RCEPCES, RN, at Providence Saint Patrick who helped make this event a success.

Chart“ The day began with health care professionals attending a talk by Scott Cerreta, Director of Education for the COPD Foundation, on “Putting COPD Guidelines into Place.” Dr. Steven Gaskill from the University of Montana then discussed “COPD Co-Morbidities and Exercise, and “Dr. Robert “Sandy” Sandhaus from National Jewish Health presented “COPD or Asthma, Could it be Both?” Scott Cerreta rounded out the morning with “Understanding COPD – Recent Research and the Evolving Definition of COPD.” The Community portion of a COPD Community Education Workshop is an especially exciting time with individuals impacted by COPD (those diagnosed with COPD, their family members and caregivers) coming together to hear, see and learn and meet others with many of the same concerns.

The Community program began with a fascinating presentation: “COPD 101 with 3D Interactive: Why You’re Short of Breath” presented by Scott Cerreta, followed by “COPD is More Than a Lung Disease” given by Dr. Sandhaus. A breakout session followed with family members and caregivers attending “The COPD Caregiver 101” presented by local social worker, Monica Trimble. COPD patients attended “Exercise, Strength Training and Flexibility for the Person with COPD” presented by Jane Martin, Associate Director of Education for the COPD Foundation. The last session of the day brought everybody back together for the “Ask the Experts” panel.

Midland
On Wednesday, March 2, 2016, much of Midland, Michigan and the surrounding area were shut down due to a snowstorm. That didn’t keep nearly 200 health care professionals and individuals impacted by COPD from making their way to the workshop. Thanks to the hard work of Jackie Evans, BBA, LRCP, and her team at our PEP Pulmonary Rehab Center at MidMichigan Health, it was a great event. The day began with health care professionals attending lectures by Scott Cerreta, “Putting COPD Guidelines into Place.” Dr. Meilan Han, a pulmonologist from the University of Michigan, gave a presentation on a very timely topic, “Transitioning from Hospital to Home to Reduce Hospital Readmissions.”

Dr. Carlos Martinez, also from the University of Michigan, then presented to both health care professionals and the community group on “The Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Why Patients Should Go.” This “overlap” session allowed both audiences to benefit from this important topic. Scott Cerreta’s presentation, “COPD 101 with 3-D Interactive: Why You’re Short of Breath” was followed by “Building Your COPD Team for the Best Quality of Life.” This session was full of compelling questions from the audience and answers from health care professionals from a variety of disciplines at MidMichigan Health.

More Workshop Activities
In addition to attending sessions by expert speakers on living better with COPD and providing better care to those with COPD, the COPD Community Education Workshops are a great way for those in the community, healthcare practitioners and impacted individuals – to learn about outstanding local pulmonary rehab programs and their beautiful facilities. Missoula and Midland were no exception. Throughout the day, free Alpha-1 screening and spirometry testing were available, and the screening room is full of activity. “Now… blow all your air out! Blow, blow, blow!” can be heard as a respiratory therapist coaches a community member through a lung function test. On the other end of the room a health care professional tests somebody else for Alpha-1 (a genetically inherited form of COPD). Volunteer helpers are always near to lend a hand or answer a question. Exhibitors displayed products and services locally available to COPD patients. In Missoula exhibitors included Baxalta, Community Medical Center, Lincare, Partners in Homecare, Norco, and the COPD Foundation. In Midland exhibitors included Baxalta, Senior Services, Monaghan, Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, Grifols, RespirTech, MidMichigan Heath and the COPD Foundation.

Many thanks to all the participants, providers and exhibitors who made these two days such a success!

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