Moving chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients from hospitals to their homes could improve the sustainability of Canada’s health system while improving individual outcomes, says the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI).
Data from health systems participating in the INSPIRED study conclude that offering Canadian COPD patients the right support services in their homes improved their quality of life while reducing hospital readmissions by 64 percent and emergency room visits by 52 percent.
“Too often, people with chronic diseases like COPD end up in hospital because the care they need is not available in the community,” CFHI President Maureen O’Neil said in a news release. “INSPIRED provides the services patients and their families tell us they need to manage their disease outside of hospital, and now we are expanding this innovative collaboration to benefit more patients.”
INSPIRED was developed at Capital Health in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to help patients manage their illness more effectively in their homes and communities. It is based on extensive input from patients and caregivers, and relied on specific healthcare teams that identified COPD patients who were able to participate in the program.
Those selected received written action plans for managing their COPD, phone calls after every discharge and at later intervals, at-home self-management education and psychosocial support, and advanced care planning when necessary. Patients were also given a phone number to call for support.
That approach has slashed emergency-room visits and hospital readmissions among more than 2,000 COPD patients in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island since the program’s establishment in 2014-15.
“These results are important because they show we can keep people with chronic disease out of the hospital by partnering with them to reinvent the way we deliver care so it meets their needs,” said Maria Judd, vice president of programs at CFHI. “All Canadians who use and pay for the healthcare system — not just those with a chronic disease — will benefit from the emergency department and hospital bed capacity this approach will free up as it spreads across the country.”