October 24, 2016

COPD Patient Advocate Group (CPAG) update

Since I last wrote in the August edition of LungNet News, the YMCA gym where I exercise regularly was faced with withdrawal of support for the ‘HeartMoves’ class by the Heart Foundation.

This class which also doubles as a Lungs in Action program provides structured and monitored exercise to a diverse group of about eight people including myself. I understand this decision is Australia-wide and the reasons for withdrawal vary from cost, to declining or irregular attendance. While my local YMCA was willing to consider ongoing support by itself, it also required stable, if not growing support by patients for the service. Lung Foundation Australia’s Lungs in Action Program Manager Emma Gainer promptly engaged with the YMCA and took the necessary steps to ensure this invaluable program is now able to continue. By working with Emma and the hospital-based pulmonary rehabilitation coordinators who provide their graduates with the incentive to continue exercise, we were able to secure additional patients to add to the roll call.

If you are convinced as I am of the benefits of regular exercise to lung disease patients, I urge you to talk to those who are less so, and encourage them to try a class for themselves. If, as a patient you are yet to complete pulmonary rehabilitation and it is accessible to you, then I strongly encourage you to do it, and, if at all possible, find a regular maintenance exercise class to follow.

Of course we will always be faced with absence due to fluctuating health and other reasons, but if enough of us maintain regular attendance and are prepared to fight for these vital programs and encourage rehab patients to commit to ongoing exercise, then their future is more secure.

If you have an established exercise program facing similar problems, particularly YMCA based, please contact Emma Gainer at the Lung Foundation on freecall 1800 654 301.

If there is no maintenance exercise class and you would like to establish one, she can also assist.

Yours in Lung Health,
Ian Venamore, CPAG Chair