WhatsApp messaging service launch for respiratory patients

Six out of 10 people concerned about contracting severe form of coronavirus due to asthma

The Asthma Society of Ireland has launched a Sláintecare-funded, Beating Breathlessness WhatsApp messaging support service, available to patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and their family and carers.

The Society’s new service allows patients to message a respiratory specialist nurse (RNS) about all aspects of their asthma management.

Users can save the WhatsApp nurse support service number 086 0590132 to their phones, send their message or support query and an RSN responds as soon as possible.

This service is to complement the Asthma Society’s existing Asthma and COPD Adviceline 1800 44 54 64. The adviceline has provided information for asthma and COPD patients since the pandemic began.

A survey conducted in April involving 2,462 patients living with asthma and COPD in Ireland, asked respondents about their concerns amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

From their responses, the survey found that nine out of 10 (92%) people with a long-term respiratory illness surveyed were “very concerned or concerned” about becoming infected with the coronavirus due to asthma or COPD.

Four out of 10 (41%) felt that there was insufficient information readily available on coronavirus and its effect on people with respiratory illnesses; eight out of 10 (82%) were concerned they would not be tested quickly enough if they do contract coronavirus, and seven out of 10 (71%) were very concerned they will require a ventilator treatment for coronavirus.

Six out of 10 (63%) were concerned about contracting a severe form of coronavirus, due to their asthma.

In terms of access to medications, three in 10 (34%) people were concerned over high demand, but not supply. One in five (22%) people stated that they were unconfident in their medication use at this time, and three out of 10 (31%) of people with asthma/COPD had avoided support, or healthcare services because they were concerned about the health impact of coronavirus.

“The results of our survey indicate that people with asthma are extremely anxious about coronavirus. People with asthma and COPD are a higher risk if they do contract coronavirus, and therefore they do require additional support in these uncertain times,” said Sarah O’Connor, CEO of Asthma Society of Ireland.

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