Another year has passed, and even more insights have come to the surface from our experts at COPD insider. In 2018, they inspired the industry on countless topics, from the benefits of using digital technologies to focusing on the human side of COPD. Most were inspired by your efforts to reduce COPD readmissions—but which recommendations from each expert reigned supreme?
Let’s shed some light on this year’s top recommendations.
Empower patients through motivational interviewing
What’s an excellent way to keep patients motivated and adhering to their COPD care plan? Try motivational interviewing. According to Robert Benzo, MD, MSc, this effective tool enables care teams to empower patients by:
Listening to them actively, not passively
Connecting on a deeper level
Promoting real connection that inspires
Expert recommendation: Don’t view patients as people who need to be rescued. Treat them as people who are capable of taking ownership over their health.
COPD readmissions are a constant challenge all institutions face. Reversing this trend is no easy task, but the recommendation of Krystal Craddock, BSRC, RRT-NPS, AEC, of enhancing your discharge plan is a great place to start. Keep these considerations in mind.
Make your plan reflective of each patient’s:
Risk for COPD readmission
Make it inclusive of:
Respiratory Care Departments in coordinating post-acute care
Respiratory therapists’ expertise and evaluation of the patient
Expert recommendation: Shift your thinking from looking at discharge as an isolated event, to being a part of the entire continuum of care for the patient.
Responsible for developing his own successful program, Keith T. Kanel, MD, MHCM, FACP, knows that it takes more than one person to achieve treatment success. According to him, the three major ways to leverage collaboration and create a successful program are to:
Allow for autonomy
Invest in staff training
Make sure the patient is part of your multidisciplinary team
Expert recommendation: Include patients in your multidisciplinary team so you can build a trustworthy relationship and gain information you couldn’t find anywhere else.
Treating patients as unique individuals makes care truly personal. However, individuals are also impacted by larger community forces. Jerry Krishnan, MD, PhD, states that in order to create a community-driven health network, you must first understand your community’s needs. Start by focusing on these three key areas:
Chronic disease prevention
Opportunities for collaboration
Expert recommendation: Coordinate with other community hospitals in your network to identify larger community issues and how to proactively address them.
Almost every leading COPD care team has one thing in common—they embrace outreach. Insider Chris Landon, MD, FFAP, FCCP, CMD, emphasizes that rather than waiting until patients present with a first exacerbation, the team should develop outreach programs that contact patients in early stages of COPD.
Use these forms of outreach to set your patients up for success from the start:
Make weekly in-home visits
Attend senior health fairs
Enhance discharge plans to include regular follow-ups
Expert recommendation: Make sure home visits and education for medical staff are a part of your outreach program.
The debate rolls on over which specialist on your care team is best to cross-train on broader skills. While respiratory therapists are an excellent care team member to cross-train, Chikita Mann, MSN, RN, CCM, states you should also consider nurses. Nurses are trained to evaluate the patient as a whole and not look solely at COPD. This is a huge advantage with a disease that is associated with so many comorbidities.
As with respiratory therapists, cross-training nurses can help when treating COPD patients by:
Identifying potential comorbidities
Anticipating when a patient may need to be hospitalized
Closing the gap on the continuum of care
Expert recommendation: Consider cross-training your nurses so they can evaluate and help treat the patients overall health.
Creating a new, successful program is often an uphill battle. But insider Vernon Pertelle, RRT, encourages you not to try doing everything at once. Rather, take a step-wise approach. Consider these tips to get your program off the ground today:
Define the problem
Develop multiple solutions
Ensure sustainability over time
Expert recommendation: Don’t just innovate new programs—approach them with discipline and purpose to help drive success.