Feature Article

COPD: preventing hospitalisations this winter

Feature Article

COPD: preventing hospitalisations this winter

Sameer Kaul, Belinda R Miller

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Abstract

Early treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) exacerbations can help prevent hospital admission. Strategies to prevent exacerbations include ensuring that each patient’s usual COPD treatment is optimal, and that he or she is vaccinated against influenza, avoids smoking, participates in regular exercise and has a healthy diet.

Key Points

  • Early treatment of patients with exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may reduce hospitalisations.
  • Review underlying COPD management, ensuring each patient has a comprehensive treatment plan, pharmacological and nonpharmacological.
  • Encourage all patients to have a COPD self-management plan.
  • Keep vaccinations up to date; use patient recall system if needed.
  • Review patients early and regularly after an exacerbation, whether treated at home or hospital; readmission risk is highest within three months of discharge.
  • Consider involving outreach and community home services in the management of patients with COPD.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation is an effective intervention in COPD and can improve quality of life, fitness and self-confidence, and reduce hospitalisations.