WINCHESTER — A new outpatient clinic at Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH) has patients breathing a little easier – literally. The ‘Get Control Respiratory Clinic’ is designed to support patients with Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). A Respiratory Therapist helps patients take control of their own health.
“One of the biggest challenges that patients with COPD or asthma face is adherence to therapy and to lifestyle changes that can improve their lung health,” explains Caroline Tessier, a Respiratory Therapist and Certified Respiratory Educator who runs the clinic.
Each appointment includes a short review of what the disease is, lung testing (called spirometry), as well as a review of medications and how the devices work. Patients are taught to identify signs of concern as well as triggers that may lead to bigger challenges. Smoking cessation support is also provided if needed.
“The goal is to increase knowledge so that patients can play an active role in optimizing their health and managing their disease. For example, being able to recognize the first signs of loss of control or infection can help avoid hospital admission and improve their overall quality of life,” adds Caroline.
The clinic is held once a month and patients must be referred by their physician. The physician receives a report following the appointment.
“The thing I enjoy the most about my profession is the direct patient care. Chronic diseases are often a source of stress for patients and I want to help take away the unknown and empower them withinformation,” sums up Caroline. “I want to help them recognize that they have the ability to take control.”