A social peer network for people with respiratory conditions
In July 2016, a new initiative was set up in Dudley for members of the community with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Pulmonary Fibrosis, Bronchiectasis and other related respiratory conditions.
‘Airtime’ is a weekly social peer-led group supporting people with respiratory conditions in the Dudley Borough. The project is currently delivered by Dudley CVS in partnership with Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Dudley Respiratory Team and Healthwatch Dudley.
COPD is a major health problem in the UK, a disease that lowers self-esteem, reduces mobility and negatively affects quality of life.
The main aim of ‘Airtime’ is to reduce social isolation and take pressure off the NHS by reducing hospital and GP admissions relating to the disease, providing a safe, caring environment for people to learn how to control their symptoms, meet others in similar situations and learn new things by taking part in enjoyable activities.
Nina Gee, Airtime coordinator, Dudley CVS said, “By providing an environment for people to meet and to have a weekly focus, they are more equipped to manage their symptoms and to feel a greater sense of belonging.”
The sessions are fun, engaging and welcoming with a wide range of activities such as Tai Chi, seated yoga, art therapy, laughter yoga, seated aerobics, singing therapy, quizzes and bingo, mindfulness and meditation as well as health talks on mental health, medication and diet.
There is fantastic collaborative work taking place between the Air Time group and the Dudley Respiratory Team. Respiratory Nurses take turns to attend the Air Time sessions so people can discuss any concerns they have about their condition. Over the past few months the Dudley Respiratory Team have also been offering additional Pulmonary Rehab sessions one hour before Air Time starts at the DY1 venue. This gives the opportunity for people who have previously been through pulmonary rehab sessions the opportunity for follow up sessions.
The group sessions are totally free and offer tea, coffee and a buffet lunch.
People who attend Air Time have told us:
“The reason why I come to Airtime is to meet people, have a chat, get some exercise and enjoy the company!”
“I don’t get out much, I live on my own and really enjoy the company. The people are so friendly and make you feel welcome, my only complaint is that time goes too quickly!”
“Getting out and attending Air Time has made me able to come off my medication for anxiety!”
“Since the death of my wife, Air Time has helped me start to enjoy life again”
There are also 6 similar projects currently running across the East and West Midlands all funded by The Health Foundation.
The group session is free and open to anyone with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and related respiratory conditions and takes place every Thursday @ 1pm- 3pm at the DY1 Community Building, Stafford Street, Dudley.