COPD patient goes from housebound to regular exercise and activities

Isabelle Clark, aged 75 from Carlisle suffered a Stroke in 2015. Unfortunately after this she became housebound but with support from the COPD team she changed her life style and now makes exercise part of her daily activities.

Isabelle was a heavy smoker, admitted to hospital following a stroke. When she was discharged home she had lost all confidence, developed agoraphobia, her weight increased and she was too scared to go out. She was only able to walk around her house using the furniture to keep her balance. Due to Isabelle also having a diagnosis of COPD the Early Supported Stroke Discharge Team (EESD) referred her to the COPD team.

Isabelle said “Michelle was brilliant; she encouraged me to do things I would have never been able to do. She never told me I had to do something. I feel loads better, go out more, go shopping, and walk to my sisters for lunch every week. I really enjoy going to the Breath of Life group and know everyone now. We are all in a similar position; we do exercise, talk and have trips out. I am surprised at what I can do now”.

Michelle Grant Therapy Assistant (COPD Team) told me about Isabelle’s journey to fitness. “Isabelle’s health was really quite poor and she was being seen by different teams for support. She had agreed to come to the “Better Breathing classes” Pulmonary Rehabilitation with the COPD team but initially kept cancelling appointments. The COPD team visited her at home, first being assessed by the team’s nurses, physiotherapist and occupational therapist. Following assessment, aids and adaptations were put in place to help her. Isabelle was given advice about activities and pacing herself to conserve energy levels. I worked closely with Isabelle and encouraged her to go into her garden, initially this was this really difficult but through time we progressed to the street. On further visits we gradually built up the distance Isabelle could walk and she developed coping strategies which enabled Isabelle’s confidence to grow. She was feeling pleased with herself.

I took Isabelle in the car to the first session of the Better Breathing Class at the community centre and by coincidence she found a familiar face. Isabelle agreed to attend the group and worked with Bill our volunteer on a one to one basis which she really enjoyed. After a couple of sessions she began to interact with the group and was almost a different person. Her confidence and walking has improved considerably; she can do her shopping now and was encouraged to attend the “Breath of Life group” in Chapel Street Carlisle, a continuation class for people with breathing problems which covers education, exercise and social elements.  Remarkably her son has now bought her an exercise bike for her birthday!!” 

Pictured above is Isabelle Clark and Michelle Grant from the Carlisle COPD team.