New support group to help people with lung disease

Herts support group for pulmonary fibrosis.
Herts support group for pulmonary fibrosis.
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A new support group for people with the lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis (PF), has been set up by The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted, with the backing of the British Lung Foundation (BLF).

Reaching out to anyone across Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire with pulmonary fibrosis, the new group gives those with the condition, and their families, the chance to meet others, share information and access professional support and advice as well as discuss ways to alleviate symptoms with a specialist nurse and specialist physiotherapist team.

The meetings are being held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month at the hospice’s wellbeing Spring Centre from 11am to 1pm at the hospice situated in Berkhamsted (HP4 3GW). Anyone with the disease is welcome to attend the free sessions.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a disease that causes a gradual scarring of the lungs and the most common form of Pulmonary Fibrosis, has been on the rise in the UK for decades, and is the cause of over 5,000 deaths every year – more than conditions such as leukaemia. However, awareness remains low, and there is no known cause or cure.

Manisha Cook, physiotherapist at The Hospice of St Francis, said: “We already have five people coming to our regular group for those affected by pulmonary fibrosis. Compared to other diseases like cancer, there is often a lack of community assistance for people with this rare condition and few specialist nurses so we wanted to set up a dedicated group to provide much-needed support.

“Alongside advice from our experienced clinicians and physio team, one of the huge benefits of the group is the opportunity for those with the disease to meet, and chat, with others in a similar situation in a relaxed, friendly environment, sharing information and stories. The sessions are completely free to attend and anyone interested in finding out more is welcome to get in contact with me.”

Ruth Sabella, British Lung Foundation’s IPF Manager, said: “Pulmonary fibrosis patients have been neglected for far too long in this country. We need to see significant improvements in service provision and research into the disease.

“We are delighted The Hospice of St Francis has set up this support group at its Spring Centre to help those with this devastating disease get the support they need. With more local support groups such as this one in Hertfordshire we can make real inroads in helping improve patient’s lives.”

For further information about the group, people can email springcentre@stfrancis.org.uk or call Manisha Cook on 01442 869550.