British Lung Foundation
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What to ask the copd nurse

I am 44 and was diagnosed with copd in May this year when I became very breathless and in pain with a chest infection. I wasn't able to do a spirometry test until July after a second lot of antibiotics with steroids as the first antibiotic treatment hadn't cleared the infection. Since then I have been given two inhalers. The spirometry results were 32 and then 37 after the inhaler.

The infection pain began as a small stich like pain which hasn't gone and some days is a stronger pain than others. I feel a difference in my health since the infection, is this usual? Have I had a sudden deterioration?

At the surgery i attend, the practitioners hold a copd clinic rather than the doctors, so I haven't seen a doctor since i went for the results of the x ray. I feel as though the practitioner hasn't given me any information and when I asked a couple of questions of about continuing to work and would I start to feel better she seemed to be avoiding any direct answers. I asked about a prognosis but again no answers.

I have another test booked in a couple of weeks so wondered if i could have some advice on what i should be asking???

4 Replies

Hi Liza54

If you can call us on the helpline number - 03000 030 555 we can arrange for you speak to a respiratory nurse who will be able to guide you in what questions would be useful for you to ask your COPD nurse.

Best Wishes



Hi Liza54

I just wanted to encourage you to ring the helpine I am available today or tommorow to speak to you.




Hi Liz, do phone the help line with regard to suggestions.

Some things to start your list for the COPD clinic might be:

1) Can you refer me to Pulmonary rehabilitation to help me understand better, manage my symptoms and learn how to help prevent further lung damage. Ask helpline about what to say if you get a reply answer of 'no' or 'not necessary' to this question.

2) Can I have an annual flu vaccination as this is recommended for people with COPD. Also can I have a pneumonia vaccine to give me added protection (also recommended with COPD)

3) Can I have some advice on recognising symptoms of a lung infection (printed if possible) I understand quick action is needed for COPD patients, should this occur during Christmas for instance, can I have a prescription of anti biotics and prednisolone with instructions at what point I should start them.

4) Prescription of inhaler to last you through Christmas and New Year. Can I increase the dose if I get a cold?

5) Do I need to be tested for Alpha1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (the hereditary form of COPD), I would ask for this if others in your family were diagnosed at a young age and if you are a non smoker.

6) If for any reason you are confirmed as Alpha1 ask for a referral to a respiratory consultant and don't accept no for an answer. You may want to ask for a referral to a hospital consultant regardless, ask the helpline for further guidance on this also.

Hope some of that helps. Let us know how you get on at the clinic.



Thank you for your replies, my appointment is today, so I will see what responses I get to the suggested questions. I have tried to call the helpline a couple of times but no-one has been available to take my call.


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