British Columbian COPD pilot program saves money on care
May 11, 2012
Last September, a Fraser Health Authority pilot project was launched to address the healthcare issues and high hospitalization rates for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Burnaby and New Westminster. Since then, the BreatheWell at Home Program has improved care for patients while reducing the need for hospitalization, as reported by the Burnaby NewsLeader.
COPD can seriously hurt quality of life for patients. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 19 percent of individuals with COPD cannot get a good night's sleep, 31 percent have difficulty exercising and 15 percent find it hard to enjoy leisure time and social activities.
The BreatheWell at Home Program provides patients with disease education, advanced doctors' prescriptions and remote home monitoring equipment. Individuals record and send their vital signs to nurses who monitor them from a remote site. If the information reveals anything wrong, a nurse will call patients promptly.
Since its implementation, the program reduced COPD-related hospitalizations by 42 percent, ER visits by 32 percent and length of stays by 38 percent, according to the news source.
Fraser Health Authority is applying for government funding to expand this program into two other communities. In the meantime, those running the current project will continue to make adjustments to increase efficiency.