How Do We Raise Awareness?
A simple conversation with a friend or a stranger is all that’s needed to start an awareness campaign. I’ve come across so many people who are actively out raising awareness through a number of different avenues, from running education seminars for people without resources, to motivational speaking events and media appearances to announce new breakthroughs in medication.
Social media has helped a lot in being able to capture large audiences for the purpose of COPD education. It has also allowed the advent of forums for patients, care givers and family to communicate with each other about a range of issues, from new medications to providing emotional support when we’re going through a bad time.
Other ideas for raising public awareness of COPD are:
- Posters and pamphlets: a poster campaign can be an effective way to market the information for all to see. Pamphlets can educate both patients and physicians.
- Event planning: lectures and/or seminars can be presented by credible sources who are well-versed in the topic of COPD. This could be a pulmonologist or respiratory therapist. A session that teaches the importance of spirometry testing and how to properly perform it is an example of one of the seminars offered.
- Community outreach: you can get a group of healthcare partners to host screenings and workshops. COPD screenings can be done, like spirometry, at many community locations. Examples include health fairs, libraries, shopping malls, community centers, hospital community rooms and local churches.
- Media sources: it would behoove you to contact your local newspapers, TV, and radio stations about any events or relevant stories. Many community calendars are available so you can contact them about getting your events on their listings.
Why Is It So Important?
The importance of spreading COPD education and awareness can be summed up by a recent experience.
Two months ago I came across an elderly lady with COPD. Every breath was a struggle and she had no fight left in her eyes. I sat down and listened to her story and it didn’t take long for me to realize how much work needs to be done educating patients.
She wasn’t on oxygen, hadn’t heard of pulmonary rehab, had no family/support network and had a limited amount of medication. She had been diagnosed many years ago and was told there was no cure and it would just get worse. Without support or a computer to research her options she felt helpless against this disease. I can only wonder what a good COPD action plan at the time of her diagnosis may have done to change both her mental and physical health.
Raising awareness and getting people educated and involved in the fight against COPD would mean stories like this one will not need to be told.