On September 3, 2014, a hundred plus attendees came to the Sheraton Downtown Denver to learn about wellness and COPD. This was also an entertaining and fun event, not just an educational one, with live music and fun ways to exercise. People who were affected by COPD in many different ways, patients, family members of patients and caregivers in the community came to learn about COPD.
This was actually a precursor event to the gathering of the American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) conference, which happens each year. However, this was the first time that patients were able to come to a session of this conference.
The AACVPR is made up of the people who work in cardiac and pulmonary rehabs in the United States, and in other countries. The COPD Community Education Workshop was put on by the COPD Foundation, Colorado's Pulmonary Education Program (PEP) Pulmonary Rehab centers, Denver-area Pulmonary Rehab programs and the AACVPR.
This event was such a success and had such great reviews, that there is a good chance it will occur again before each annual AACVPR conference. One attendee was quoted as saying:
"I learned a great deal today to live better tomorrow."
Here are a few highlights from that day:
Many of the people who attended were shuttled from different parts of the city and the surrounding area. They were greeted by 40 volunteers, who were there to help with anything that patients needed throughout the day, including oxygen refills and wheelchair transport. These wonderful volunteers were mostly respiratory care students.
Sixteen exhibitors around the Sheraton offered information and demonstrations. There were home oxygen providers, specialized medical equipment, health care systems in the Denver area, online support, and travel for those with COPD. Patients and other attendees had the opportunity to get a free spirometry test, and be tested for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (genetically inherited emphysema).
Respiratory Therapist and Director of Education for the COPD Foundation Scott Cerreta, presented an interactive COPD 101 class, to teach about why you can feel out of breath and what goes on inside your lungs when COPD progresses.
Denver-area polmunologist, Dr. Alexander Benson taught a class about understanding medicine, muscle weakness and more. Gina Blea, a local Respiratory Therapist, guided the guests in a fun chair exercise session and taught about the importance of staying active to stay healthy.
Attendees for the afternoon program began to arrive, as well as keynote speakers to give talks about the newest research in COPD and lung health medicine. These were professionals from Cardiac and Pulmonary Rebilitation.