Volunteers sought for RGU lung condition study

An RGU academic is reaching out to people who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to take part in a new research study.

Pamela Kirkpatrick

Pamela Kirkpatrick, a senior lecturer in RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, is recruiting volunteers aged 65 or under for the study, which will consist of a short interview and discussion about their experiences with the disease while in employment.

COPD describes a group of lung conditions that make it difficult to empty air out of the lungs, because the airways have been narrowed. Two such lung conditions are persistent bronchitis and emphysema, which can also occur together.

The research team also includes Professor Graham Devereux from the University of Aberdeen, RGU’s Emeritus Professor Valerie Maehle, Dr Kay Cooper and Dr Sheelagh Martindale, along with colleagues from NHS Grampian.

Pamela Kirkpatrick said: “We know from the lack of research that there is a poor understanding of the impact work has on COPD and vice versa. What previous research has highlighted is that 40% of people with COPD have given up paid employment sooner than those with most other chronic conditions and many lose out financially, becoming more socially isolated as a result.

“Existing support structures from employers, support groups, healthcare professionals, families and friends are fragmented, with inconsistencies meaning sufferers often have to navigate their troubles alone.

“We at RGU, along with our partners, are passionate about developing innovative healthcare solutions and the outcomes from this study will help recommend improvements for the longer-term employment of people of working age with COPD.”

To be eligible for the study, participants must be 65 years old or younger, have COPD as their main presenting condition and be fluent in spoken English. The confidential interviews are expected to last under one hour.

The recruitment process is now underway and will run until December 2017.

If you, or someone you know has COPD and are interested in finding out more, please contact Pamela Kirkpatrick by email – – or call 01224 263 276.


Release by Jonathon Milne
Communications Officer
Press and Media Enquiries