Patient Story – Thomas

Thomas (82) and his wife Carmen live in North Tyneside.

After experiencing pneumonia over 20 years ago, Thomas developed emphysema and bronchiectasis and was then given a COPD diagnosis.

Thomas’ COPD has got progressively worse over the years and prior to being put onto home HMV, he and Carmen found themselves needing to travel to the hospital every three months for intravenous antibiotics. As Thomas has had to give up driving, this meant a taxi journey and then several hours at the hospital. In addition to this, he also required frequent use of his home rescue /emergency pack of antibiotics.

Thomas’ COPD has got progressively worse over the years and prior to being put onto home HMV, he and Carmen found themselves needing to travel to the hospital every three months for intravenous antibiotics. As Thomas has had to give up driving, this meant a taxi journey and then several hours at the hospital. In addition to this, he also required frequent use of his home rescue/emergency pack of antibiotics.

But just over a year ago, Thomas was approached by the team in Newcastle who suggested that he try home HMV. Initially, Thomas was reluctant – he found the big NIV mask very uncomfortable and was put off by this – but he was persuaded to try the home treatment.

Twelve months on and Thomas is a convert!

He said: “I’m so grateful for the timing. We were put into lockdown only a few weeks after I started using the HMV treatment and it made a huge difference knowing that I wouldn’t need to go into hospital as Covid cases were going up.”

Thomas hasn’t been admitted to hospital for over a year and Carmen has been able to give him his medication, so they have both feel safer being able to stay at home in the current environment.

As for the mask, Thomas uses a nasal mask which he finds much more comfortable. He struggled a bit for the first fortnight, but he found it helped to wear his mask during the day to get used to it, and this made it easier for him to use at night.

He continued: “The key is to get the headband comfortable and then it’s a doddle! You get used to knowing which straps to adjust if it moves in the night.

“Before I was sleeping really badly at night which meant that I fell asleep during the day and then couldn’t get to sleep when I went to bed. Now I sleep well for 6-7 hours every night and only need a small cat nap during the day!”

Carmen is also relieved that Thomas is sleeping better. He used to sleep very deeply during the day which she found quite frightening and while she was originally concerned about the noise of having an HMV unit in the bedroom, she’s got used to it and because Thomas isn’t coughing, she also sleeps better herself.

Thomas concluded: “It’s opened up my life again and changed it for the better. I’m able to do more around the house and even get out to my greenhouse when the weather warms up.

“My advice to anyone who is offered home HMV is to take the opportunity. It might seem scary at first but one of the nurses came out to show us how to fit the mask and we were given a lot of help and support.”