Starting a local COPD support group in your community may not be
easy but it is a very rewarding and important service to the COPD
community as well as your local community. It takes a very special
person to reach beyond their own health problems to help others.
In doing so, however, you will probably find that you gain even
more than you give.
A COPD support group will:
- Provide education on all aspects of the
- Promote disease management skills, especially coping skills
- Promote interaction to provide ideas from others who are
dealing with the disease
- Help patients accept the disease and limitations not often
- Help eliminate the shame and blame stigma
- Provide a welcome place for patients who often feel alone or
“You are not alone”
- Provide a sense of friendship and acceptance that they may not
- Encourage patients to get out and be more active
- Involve members in COPD and non COPD activities and events
- Increase community awareness
- Work to enhancing members’ quality of life
- Reach out to patients who do not have access to good
information and support
Questions to consider before deciding to take on
the responsibility of starting and running a COPD support group:
- Do you have the time to plan and coordinate
the meetings and events?
- Do you have the time to talk with individual members who call
- Will you be able to attend the meetings, even if you’re having
a bad day?
- Are you comfortable in front of
and speaking to a group?
- Are you assertive enough (in a
tactful way) to control a meeting?
- Can you maintain a positive, encouraging and hopeful attitude,
- Are you a good listener?
- Are you able to refrain from pushing your own beliefs?
- Can you gather a few people you can depend on to spread the
work load, and back
you up, both behind the scenes and at the meetings?
Note: Starting a local support group
is best accomplished by establishing a core group (steering
committee). This spreads the workload out. The points
above can also be spread over several different members of
Emotional support, social support and education for people
living with COPD are just as important as their medical care.
The local community you create can help all that participate
learn to work through their feelings of fear and frustration and
to ultimately have a better quality of life.
Use the form below to receive the check list "Steps to Starting an Effective COPD
Support Group" and a "Lung Disease Support
Group Leadership and
Training Manual" which combine to give you general
information to help you set up a COPD patient support group in your
area. They also give you some specific guidance that will help
ensure your success. In addition, should your group decide to
affiliate with COPD-International, you will have access to a
website which will provide additional help and guidance as well
as the opportunity to interact with other group leaders.