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Breathe Easy Support Team

Breathe Easy Support Team

Maha Alrimali, RPh, CRE, The Lung Association – Ontario

The Breathe Easy Support Team (B.E.S.T.), launched by The Lung Association-Ontario (TLA) in January 2017, is a community-based support group that brings together patients and their caregivers. Members include patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), as well as those undergoing a lung transplant.

Patients can self-refer or be referred by their health-care provider. The support group meets monthly at the Real Canadian Superstore® across the street from our provincial office (located near Don Mills and Eglinton in Toronto).  B.E.S.T. is supported by a Registered Pharmacist/Certified Respiratory Educator from our provincial office.  Meetings are scheduled for 10:30-11:30am on the first Thursday of every month (except July and August). Parking is available at no cost and light snacks and refreshments are provided. The meeting location is on the ground floor of the supermarket and is easily accessible for those with mobility challenges.

Over the past 14 months, TLA has worked with the support group members to promote lung health as well as disease self-management. Along with providing education on various lung health topics, B.E.S.T. gatherings are also for sharing personal experiences and expectations. Members often discuss their own journey of living with a chronic lung disease and how it has affected their lives. Members have brought items to the meetings, such as their oximeters, portable oxygen tanks, and pulmonary rehabilitation CDs. These items have provided the subject for useful discussions. B.E.S.T has invited a number of guests from different disciplines to speak about their areas of expertise related to managing lung disease. Guest speakers to date have included a dietitian, a kinesiologist, a yoga instructor and a respiratory therapist. The topics discussed at these meetings have helped bridge the gap between patient knowledge and their perception of lung disease, and the science provided by clinical research along with the recommendations in the Canadian guidelines.

We know the proven benefits from pulmonary rehabilitation and self-management education programs and support groups.  B.E.S.T. is one of many Lung Association initiatives that engage patients with lung disease.

If you are interested in starting a support group, please contact Jody Hamilton, Manager Patient Engagement & Community Programs, The Lung Association-Ontario, jhamilton@lungontario.ca.

Below is a list of other support groups in Ontario. If you know of a patient and or caregiver who might benefit from attending a support group please call 1-888-344-5864 (LUNG) or email info@lungontario.ca (TLA keeps a data-base of support groups across Ontario).

  • LHIN 1 – Erie St. Clair has four support groups in Sarnia, Windsor, and Chatham.
  • LHIN 2 – South West has one support group in London.
  • LHIN 3 – Waterloo Willington has one support group in Cambridge.
  • LHIN 4 – Hamilton and Niagara has five support groups in St. Catharines, Hamilton, Brantford and Niagara-on-the-Lake.
  • LHIN 5 – Central West has no support groups.
  • LHIN 6 – Mississauga Halton has two support groups in Mississauga.
  • LHIN 7 – Toronto Central has four support groups in Toronto.
  • LHIN 8 – Central has two support groups in Newmarket and Markham.
  • LHIN 9 – Central East has one support group in Whitby.
  • LHIN 10 – South East has no support groups.
  • LHIN 11 – Champlain has one support group in Ottawa.
  • LHIN 12 – North Simcoe has no support groups.
  • LHIN 13 – North East has two support groups in Sudbury and North Bay.
  • LHIN 14 – North West has one support group in Thunder Bay.

When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters”.

The Respiratory Health Education Interest Group (RHEIG) is a multi-disciplinary group of ORCS members who promote and advance the field of respiratory education, with a specific interest in applying theory in a practical way.

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