School of Population Health

Person-centred program improves healthcare for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and co-existing chronic health conditions

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World-first research shows that an innovative, nurse-delivered program in general practice helps patients better manage their chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other chronic health conditions.
COPD is the 5th leading cause of death in Australia and 3rd leading cause of death in the world, and is also an underlying risk factor for lung cancer and more recently, COVID-19.  
In Australian general practice, nurses mostly perform routine clinical tasks. As part of the study, nurses were trained to deliver personalised self-management strategies for people with COPD and co-existing chronic conditions, beyond routine visits to their general practice. 
The study found that the approach increased patients’ self-confidence in regard to managing their multiple chronic health conditions, improved their COPD-related knowledge and quality of life, and corrected the technique for taking their prescribed inhalers. 

According to lead researcher from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM), Dr Sameera Ansari, these positive results were promising and it would be of benefit to embed such a program in routine general practice.  
"Many COPD-related hospital admissions, and the burden these place on the health system, are preventable if COPD is optimally managed in the community. This research shows that our approach can improve the way COPD and other chronic health conditions are managed in the Australian primary care setting," says Dr Ansari. 
"It is especially encouraging that 70% of participating patients completed the program despite having other chronic conditions that affected their day-to-day lives," she says. 
"We already know that providing self-management support in primary care is effective for people with COPD; but our research is the first of its kind to show that this works for people with COPD who also have to manage their other chronic conditions." 
Other SPHCM researchers involved in this study include Conjoint Professor Nick Zwar and Conjoint Associate Professor Sarah Dennis from the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity. 
The paper was published in @nature Primary Care Respiratory Medicine - read more

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School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM)