The Petrolia Topic article published August 22, 2017. Article in full pasted below.
Melissa Shilz, Postmedia Network
Hot summer months can spell trouble for those suffering from breathing difficulties, and the Central Lambton Family Health Team wanted to do something to help.
They began their monthly Lung Health Education Program in July. Certified Respiratory Educator Nicole Pasut holds informal discussions and aims to show people who may have breathing difficulties how to self-manage it through exercise, breathing techniques and correct use of their inhaler in order to avoid future visits to the emergency room.
Pasut said she began running the program at the Legion about five years ago, but it has since moved into the Family Health Team Facility. In Petrolia, there isn’t anything else available when it comes to respiratory health besides what they get from their doctor, so having an accessible resource is important in the community.
Executive Director Sarah Milner said since the clinic doesn’t have funding for a respiratory therapist, having Pasut come in from Grand Bend is a key partnership for the patients and their wellness.
“It’s different from what the doctor can provide…they are specialized and can gear the conversation to each client or patient,” Milner said. “There’s no time limit with them.”
Pasut said the session is open to anyone who is interested in learning more, noting that there can also be open discussion between herself and a patient’s family doctor to ensure necessary treatment is being received.
“Anyone with any sort of issues can come and see us,” Pasut said. “They’ve been happy that we’re here in Petrolia coming to them.”
Each session looks at different topics, and Pasut said they are looking to adapt the program to what suits the needs of those attending. They work with each person to create action plans and health goals to work towards improving their everyday health.
“Everyone learns differently,” she said, noting that they are sending out surveys to get more feedback about the team.
Pasut said the program has also partnered with Archways, so those interested in getting more motivation to exercise can sign up to do so at their facility. She stresses to the clients that working certain muscles will make them more efficient, making the rest of the body better at using the air that your lungs bring in. They also hold weekly exercise sessions on Tuesdays at New Life Assembly Church.
“I’m hoping that physically being here on site will get more conversation going,” Pasut said. “I know there’s a lot of people having issues…the industry in this area and in Sarnia plays a huge role with a lot of the clients that we see.”
Milner said showing individuals how to self-manage their breathing difficulties is a key aspect of what they want to do. Being at the clinic also means those who attend can be connected to other resources that could help them in the future.
“Those are tools that people can have to empower themselves and better their own health,” she said. “We’re really fortunate to have the team and especially the expertise…without them we wouldn’t be able to provide that here in the community.”
Interested in attending? Sessions are held every second Wednesday of the month from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.