Maryland Better Breathers Club Facilitator Brings Resources to COPD Patients in Leonardtown

(May 13, 2013)

Beth Slick is a Registered Respiratory Therapist at Medstar St. Mary’s Hospital, located in Leonardtown, MD.  For the past three years, Beth has served as an  American Lung Association Better Breathers Club® (BBC) program facilitator. Implementation of this program was not a requirement at her hospital, but Beth and her team felt that more resources could be provided to patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in addition to the existing Pulmonary & Cardiac Rehabilitation classes.  When COPD patients confirmed their interests in a support group, Beth took the initiative and contacted Janine Chambers, Adult Lung Disease Programs Director at the American Lung Association.  The BBC program at Medstar St. Mary’s Hospital was on its way!

On a personal level, Beth has seen first-hand the effects of COPD.  Beth’s mother-in-law has developed COPD, yet has not stopped smoking.  Beth explains, “It is very sad to see her [mother-in-law’s] quality of life go downhill so quickly.” Beth understands, as do her BBC members, that with proper management of their COPD, their quality of life can improve.

 

Serving as a BBC facilitator has given Beth an opportunity to assist COPD patients with their journey to better lung health.  “Some days they [participants] have a rough day breathing, but they go [to the BBC] because they want a better quality of life, and I find them all inspirational,” says Beth. “I have much love for them, and they are my family now.”

 

In the future, Beth hopes to start a local “Drive4COPD” through the COPD Foundation.  The goal would be to diagnose those with COPD and other lung diseases before such individuals develop moderate or severe forms of the disease.  Beth hopes to be able to intertwine the Drive4COPD with the BBC program.

 

All in all, Beth is immensely grateful that the American Lung Association has helped her team facilitate the BBC program.  “It [American Lung Association] has wonderful resources for the public to gain lung health knowledge,” says Beth, “and I am humble and proud to be a part of the BBC program.”  Overall, Beth wants all those experiencing COPD to know “just because you have a diagnosis with COPD, your life is not over.” Thanks to Beth, COPD patients in the Leonardtown area have the BBC to turn to for ongoing information, education, and support from others who truly understand.