If you have any of the signs of COPD listed in the box below or are concerned that you might have COPD, just call the Albert County Community Health Centre at 882-3100. At your appointment, you might be asked to do a simple breathing test.
Your action plan
If you are diagnosed with COPD or pre-COPD, a respiratory therapist at the Albert County Community Health Centre will help you develop an action plan. This may involve medication to reduce symptoms; vaccines to help prevent pneumonia, flu and other diseases; and lifestyle changes. If you smoke, you can get support to help you quit smoking. You might also get ideas on how to get more exercise.
The action plan is your own personal guide to dealing with COPD. It will include advice on how to prevent flare-ups based on your own situation. The plan will describe how to use your maintenance medication (what to take on a good day) and how to adjust your medication if you are having a flare-up or if you expect to be exposed to triggers that might worsen your COPD.
A team approach
COPD symptoms don’t just come during office hours. You need to be prepared to deal with breathing problems when you can’t make an appointment at the health centre. Your Action Plan will help provide guidance, but if you want to talk to someone without an appointment, call Tele-Care (dial 811). Upstream has partnered with Tele-Care to share the Action Plans of patients. If you aren’t sure of what to do, call 811 and a nurse can find your own Action Plan and give you advice. Afterwards, information from the call will be added to your medical record and Action Plan.
Your pharmacist is another member of your team. Upstream establishes automatic renewals for your COPD-related prescriptions. Through Upstream, more people can be diagnosed with COPD before they need to go to the hospital. But the first step is with you. Check out the signs of COPD below. If you have any concerns, call the Albert County Community Health Centre at 882-3100.
This article is based on interviews with Phyllis Hudson, Facility Administrator at Albert County Community Health Centre, and Emily Kitts, Upstream COPD Manager.