November is National COPD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) month. While
other major causes of death have decreased, COPD mortality has continued
to rise and remains the 3rd leading cause of death. Approximately 12 million
Americans are diagnosed with COPD and surprisingly, an additional 12 million
remain undiagnosed. It is estimated that 120,000 Americans die from the
disease each year. This is equal to nearly one death every four minutes.
Research tells us that many patients do not get optimal treatment and
research also remains the first line of defense to advance treatment.
Education for COPD offers real opportunities to improve the patient’s
quality of life.
On Wednesday, November 4, 2015, Respiratory Care Support Services at Good
Samaritan will celebrate COPD month by launching a new support group called
the Better Breathers Club. Dr. Rafael Lao II, Medical Director for the
Respiratory Care Department, will facilitate and present at this inaugural
meeting which will be held in the Good Samaritan Cancer Pavilion Conference
Room from noon to 1:30 P.M. E.T.
As a provider of Critical Care Services at Good Samaritan, Dr. Lao has
been exposed to the devastating effects of COPD on his patients. Dr. Lao
comments, “I am very pleased to facilitate and support the Better
Breathers Club. This program will provide information and services that
promote early diagnosis, treatment and guidance that decrease devastating
outcomes and improve the quality of life for our patients.”
The Better Breathers Club is a program developed and endorsed by the American
Lung Association (ALA) and facilitators for Good Samaritan’s program
are certified through the association. The purpose of the club is to offer
patient-centered and community-based educational opportunities, and support
to patients with chronic lung disease, especially COPD. Patients suffering
with other lung diseases such as asthma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
(IPF), and lung cancer may also benefit from this program along with their
families, friends and support system.
The goal of the Better Breathers Club support group is to improve the quality
of life and functional status for members by providing disease-specific
education and emotional connection, which may prevent exacerbations requiring
medical care, thereby reducing the health, economic and social burden
of lung disease.
One of Good Samaritan’s goals is to make a difference in the health
of our community. That goal may be achieved through the provision of inpatient
and outpatient services that increase the awareness and understanding
of COPD. Another goal is to increase the knowledge and understanding that
COPD is treatable.
Tammy Howell, CRT Respiratory Support Services at Good Samaritan and group
organizer, knows how important these meetings are for patients with COPD.
“The Better Breathers Club will enable members to give and receive
encouragement by discussing how they manage their disease,” stated
Howell. “The support group will offer members a sense of acceptance
and friendship that they may not find elsewhere.” Janet Sievers,
RRT, Director of Respiratory Care at Good Samaritan states that “this
new program will fill a void in the continued care and support of patients
affected by lung disease and we are very pleased to see this program come
to fruition. It is through the dedicated work of Tammy, and Mary Lou McClung,
Department Manager, that this was made possible.”
Family physicians and primary care providers play an important role in
the diagnosis and management of COPD. If you are concerned that you might
have COPD or another lung disorder, you are encouraged to speak with your
health care provider. Your provider may order diagnostic testing to confirm
diagnosis if present, grade the severity of your disease, and provide
If you have any questions or would like to register for this free event,
please call Tammy Howell at 812-885-3215 or you can reach her by email