Home Care starts with the right device

 

Choosing the right home care device can make all the difference for patients once they leave the hospital. Discover four easy steps for making the right choice to set patients up for sustainable success.

Maximizing home care success: Four steps to choosing the right device

After a COPD flare-up and lengthy hospital stay, your patient is finally stable enough to go home. The discharge paperwork is done and they are out the door. But only a couple weeks later, on a routine trip to the grocery store, the patient begins wheezing and experiences extreme shortness of breath. Shortly there after, they are back in your emergency department.

 

Sounds familiar, right?

 

When it comes to treating COPD patients, identifying and implementing home care strategies could reduce the likeliness of future exacerbations and readmissions. But, it requires that the patient be armed with the tools to succeed. In many cases, that starts with having the right device.

 

In this article, we break out the four key steps to setting your patients up for success as you transition them to home care.

Starting a patient with the right equipment rather than having to try to switch them mid-stream is always going to be easier.” 

 

- Christine Cunningham, RRT

Director of Clinical Services

CHI Health at Home

Contributors

Jennifer Anderson


Jennifer Anderson, MBA, RRT, AE-C


Director Respiratory Care and

Pulmonary Function Labs

AU Medical Center

Brian Carlin


Brian Carlin, MD, FCCP, FAARC 


Critical Care Staff Physician,
Altoona Regional Health System
Christine Cunningham


Christine Cunningham,
RRT


Director
Clinical Services

CHI Health at Home

Les Ducan


Les Ducan 


Director of Operations

Highmark-Community and Health Services

Step 1

Get to know your patient

 

Before you can decide on an appropriate device for your patient, you need to have an understanding of their individual situation and lifestyle. Many basic factors will influence device selection including: age, disease severity, and activity level.

 

Beyond these factors, it is essential to identify their goals and treatment expectations. While some patients may value vanity and portability, others may want to maintain a high activity level. By determining what is most important to each patient, you can set them up with a device that meets their needs.

On the importance of matching patients
with the right device

Christine video


Christine Cunningham, RRT

Director of Clinical Services

CHI Health at Home

Consider these questions to get a better understanding of each patient’s needs:

 

  • How would you rate your activity level?
  • Are there any activities you’ve given up that you’d like to get back into?
  • What is your biggest mobility challenge in or out of your home?
  • Describe your daily routine. What is working? What is not?
Step 2

Determine which device is the best fit

Once you have established what is important to your patient, it’s time to consider their device options. In some cases, you may need to find a balance between what the patient wants and what is medically necessary depending on their disease severity.
It’s not just the function of the device but the functional limitations of the patient."

- Christine Cunningham, RRT

Director of Clinical Services CHI Health at Home

On clarifying the impact of your device

Sometimes that cute little four pound sack on your side doesn’t allow you to complete a six-minute walk test.
Having patients see and feel the difference made a huge advancement in helping them make an informed decision.” 

- Christine Cunningham, RRT


Director of Clinical Services
 CHI Health at Home

On the benefits of involving a pharmacist in device selection

Once you've determined the right device for your patient, remember to consider the financial impacts. Involving a pharmacist early on in the process is an easy way to ensure that the device you're prescribing is attainable and affordable for the patient.


Jennifer Anderson, MBA, RRT, AE-C


Director Respiratory Care and
Pulmonary Function Labs


AU Medical Center

Jennifer video
Step 3

Implement and educate


Sending a patient home with the right device is void if they don’t understand how to use it correctly. Accurate setup and education are key for long term home care success.  
 

Proper patient training begins with the health care team. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and care managers should have a solid understanding of usage and administration for a variety of devices. Simple faculty training sessions can go a long way to ensure patients are receiving the correct information. 

Sending a patient home with the right device is void if they don’t understand how to use it correctly. Accurate setup and education are key for long term home care success.  

 

Proper patient training begins with the health care team. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and care managers should have a solid understanding of usage and administration for a variety of devices. Simple faculty training sessions can go a long way to ensure patients are receiving the correct information.

Sending a patient home with the right device is void if they don’t understand how to use it correctly. Accurate setup and education are key for long term home care success.  

 

Proper patient training begins with the health care team. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and care managers should have a solid understanding of usage and administration for a variety of devices. Simple faculty training sessions can go a long way to ensure patients are receiving the correct information.

Sending a patient home with the right device is void if they don’t understand how to use it correctly. Accurate setup and education are key for long term home care success.  

 

Proper patient training begins with the health care team. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and care managers should have a solid understanding of usage and administration for a variety of devices. Simple faculty training sessions can go a long way to ensure patients are receiving the correct information.


Training the trainers


Before unleashing your care team to train patients on device usage, answer these important questions. This will help you avoid unnecessary duplication or mixed messages.
Who will be doing the training


Who will be doing the training?

what will be communicated


What will be communicated?

what resources will be provided


What resources will be provided?

Insider insight:
Equipping patients for success


When a patient is discharged, they should leave feeling confident that they have everything they need to self-manage and properly use their new device. This includes written instructions detailing setup, timing, and dosage information. Further resources, such as videos and websites, can be an excellent complement.

 

In addition, it is hugely beneficial to provide patients with a person or department they can contact in the event of questions or problems.  


- Brian Carlin, MD, FCCP, FAARC


Critical Care Staff Physician

Altoona Regional Health System

On the importance of proper physician and patient training

Brian video

How to:
Patient education
 

explanation
demonstration
recreation
Step 4

Follow up consistently


Once you’ve sent a patient home with their device, you want to help them stay home. Continue to monitor patients for adherence and proper usage to help ensure they are taking vital steps toward better wellness.  
 

Proper patient training begins with the health care team. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and care managers should have a solid understanding of usage and administration for a variety of devices. Simple faculty training sessions can go a long way to ensure patients are receiving the correct information. 

Sending a patient home with the right device is void if they don’t understand how to use it correctly. Accurate setup and education are key for long term home care success.  

 

Proper patient training begins with the health care team. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and care managers should have a solid understanding of usage and administration for a variety of devices. Simple faculty training sessions can go a long way to ensure patients are receiving the correct information.

Sending a patient home with the right device is void if they don’t understand how to use it correctly. Accurate setup and education are key for long term home care success.  

 

Proper patient training begins with the health care team. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and care managers should have a solid understanding of usage and administration for a variety of devices. Simple faculty training sessions can go a long way to ensure patients are receiving the correct information.

Sending a patient home with the right device is void if they don’t understand how to use it correctly. Accurate setup and education are key for long term home care success.  

 

Proper patient training begins with the health care team. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and care managers should have a solid understanding of usage and administration for a variety of devices. Simple faculty training sessions can go a long way to ensure patients are receiving the correct information.

Smart investments

Smart investments

A major benefit to home care is the ability for telehealth and remote monitoring. A mere $100 home visit can save your organizations thousands in future hospital admissions. This proactive approach can help you identify and address problems earlier, while empowering patients to self-manage.

Practical relationships

Practical relationships

Ongoing relationships with care managers and nurses provides patients with a sense of security. They also act as a first line of defense for patients to rely on when problems arise. This continual contact over time through routine home visits and follow-up phone calls may lead to fewer exacerbations and reduced emergency department (ED) visits. 

Consider this patient

  • Barbara, 78 years old
  • Diagnosed with severe COPD
  • Sent home with a portable oxygen compressor
Problem
In the middle of the night Barbara wakes up with severe shortness of breath.
Solution

Rather than calling an ambulance, she is able to call her nurse care manager. The care manager remotely helps Barbara adjust her oxygen level based on her oximeter and performs a breathing exercise with her over the phone. The nurse care manager stayed on the phone until Barbara felt better and an ED visit was avoided*.

 

Takeaway

 

Giving patients access to a care provider through remote monitoring not only helps troubleshoot problems with devices but can also avoid further exacerbations and costly emergency department visits.
*In the event of an emergency or severe exacerbation, 911 should be called.  
Setting your COPD patients up with the right device can be a major step in managing their disease, improving their quality of life, and preventing readmissions. Implementing these four simple steps in your practice can ensure that your patients are getting an appropriate device the first time around and are set up for long-term home care success.
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Further reading

COPD insider

The 3 Keys to Empowering Successful Self-management

Christine Cunningham discusses how she actively engages patients in self-management and what steps you can take to keep them invested in their care.

Managing Chronic Disease in a Population Health Model.
 

ACO Director, Les Duncan examines how the benefits of an ACO go beyond individual patient care to influence disease management in larger populations.

Overcoming Underdiagnosis: Identifying Patients with Overlap Syndrome
 

Your care teams go to great lengths to diagnose and treat COPD but if you’re missing comorbid conditions, you could be doing your patients a disservice. Discover what you can do to identify and treat overlap syndrome.