The idea of setting up the group came from a whānau member with COPD, that Te Arawa Whānau Ora and Hospice were supporting. In working with him it became clear that there were many people in Rotorua who have COPD and have become quite isolated from their communities.
COPD is a lung disease which is usually caused by smoking, and results in permanent breathing problems. Quite often those who have the disease don't know it and go undiagnosed and therefore are not given support in managing it.
The group was brought together by representatives of Te Arawa Whānau Ora, Rotorua Lakes DHB, Asthma Rotorua and Rotorua Hospice who saw a critical need in the community to help raise awareness about the disease. The setting up of the group has been a collaboration between service providers and is an example of sectors working together to develop approaches to meet a chronic health need.
Te Arawa Whānau Ora Service Delivery Manager, Veronica Butterworth, has seen the value of working collectively within the Whānau Ora space and knew that the same could be done to support whānau and families who are dealing with this chronic illness.
We have seen the incredible benefits to whānau and community when organisations work together, so we wanted to use that same understanding to support this important initiative," explains Mrs Butterworth.
A key benefit that has emerged from the group is enhanced community integration. So often those suffering from COPD are dependent on oxygen tanks and can become isolated in their own homes. Coming together has allowed those in the group to share their experiences and knowledge while sociaising and enjoying themselves.
Shirley Morrison, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Rotorua Hospital told Rotorua TV that "the danger is that everyone works in isolation" as a result the group is seeking to instead work collectively to support those suffering from COPD and help them self-manage and find strategies to increase their overall wellbeing.
The group will be meeting monthly, details below:
These gatherings take place at 1115 Haupapa Street on the ground floor of Community House:
- 18 March 2015
- 15 April 2015
- 20 May 2015
- 17 June 2015
- 15 July 2015
- 19 Aug 2015
- 16 Sep 2015
- 14 Oct 2015
- 9 Dec 2015