In general the nurse deals with ongoing COPD including developing a personalised care pathway with you and showing you how to use your inhalers, ensuring you are up-to-date with your vaccinations and doing repeat spirometry for you.
Your GP usually deals with any exacerbations you may suffer with and follow-up if needed urgently if you have needed rescue medication or needed to go to the hospital or call the Out of Hours service, They can also ensure you get repeat antibiotics and steroids if you have needed to use them.
Make sure you remember to get your flu injection. You will also need a pneumococcal injection once every 10 years too.
It is important to know how to get an appointment with a doctor in the surgery if you need it. We do telephone triage over the phone to determine whether the problem can be solved over the phone rather than having to come to the surgery. If it is out of hours and you are not sure what to do then click here to see what options you have.
Smoking cessation services are available in the practice and also by the smoking cessation service. Please speak to the receptionist who can inform you about the service available or you can go online here.
You need to know that you have stopped smoking or where to get help to stop smoking if you are still doing so. You should have your flu injection annually. It is important to know what inhalers you should be taking and how to take them. If you have been given antibiotics and steroids to keep at home then you should know what the first symptoms of a chest infection are so that you can start the treatment immediately and then order repeat prescriptions to replace what you have used. If you are also on oxygen then you should know how to get help if you have problems with your oxygen. You should ensure you have spirometry done at least annually including a note of your MRC Dyspnoea Scale and have a personalised care plan that has been reviewed with your nurse or doctor. You should have been on pulmonary rehabilitation to help you to safely exercise. Patients with COPD can often suffer with anxiety, depression, panic disorder and loneliness.
5. What needs to happen now and in the future?
You should have your flu injection once a year. You should have an annual review of your COPD once a year with your nurse which should include a review of your personal care plan, review of inhalers and inhaler technique, smoking advice, pulmonary rehabilitation and information about self-help groups such as Breathe-Easy that may also be able to help you too. You should also discuss how you feel about your condition and whether you feel anxious, depressed or lonely.
6. What can you do to help?
As this is a new way of working, it is worth discussing this with the nurse to see how this can be done the first time you decide to take control.
Get access to your GP-held record. Without knowing what is in your records and what you need to do, it will be very hard to know what to do when and with who. This is an essential first step for anybody with any condition or who wants the best from the practice.