March 4, 2013
Breathing Easier at Home
FHA begins COPD
self-care program in Chilliwack
Released by Fraser Health Authority
and Chilliwack patients living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
Disease, or COPD, will be able to better manage their condition at
home, making fewer trips to hospital with the expansion of the
BreatheWELL at Home program to these communities.
In the fall of 2011, Fraser
Health piloted the BreatheWELL program in Burnaby and New
As a result of the success
of the program and its proven benefit to patients with COPD, the
program has expanded to patients living in Langley and Chilliwack.
"This is good news for
patients in Langley and their families. The expansion of the program
will allow patients to better manage their disease at home and
prevent future lung attacks and hospitalization," said Mary Polak,
MLA for Langley in a release on Monday.
Home is a program that improves health outcomes for people living
with COPD, sometimes called emphysema, by helping to prevent lung
attacks and hospitalization.
Patients in the BreatheWELL program receive specialized clinical
support including two to three initial home visits by a nurse and
respiratory therapist who work with the patient and family doctor to
develop a care plan. The patients also receive therapy services and
are connected to services such as lung rehab, mental health and
substance use (i.e. depression and anxiety, smoking cessation), home
support, rehabilitation therapy, and exercise programs.
BreatheWELL to Chilliwack will benefit more patients with Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It will benefit patients, families
and the health care professionals who care for them," said John Les,
MLA for Chilliwack
In addition, the
program provides patient self-management education such as coaching
the individual in self-care (proper medications) and self-management
(how to stay in control, manage and prevent flare-ups and follow
action plans in case they occur).
"The BreatheWELL program helps patients with COPD to have better
control over their condition and improved quality in their lives.
Early recognition and treatment of flare up symptoms have also shown
reduction in Emergency Room visits and hospitalization. Through
continued spread of the BreatheWELL program, we hope to reduce
pressure on the acute care system," explained Dr. Grace Park,
Program Medical Director, Home Health.
In some cases, a
technician installs in-home telehealth monitoring technology
depending on the patient's need. This technology helps patients
manage and understand their condition by tracking vital
measurements, such as blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels, and
providing health education.
Patients enrolled in the program from April 1, 2012, saw a 35%
decrease in ER visits and a 51% decrease in acute care admissions
following the implementation of BreatheWELL in Burnaby, New
Westminster, Langley and Chilliwack. Of those admitted, the average
length of stay per patient decreased by 48%.
an integrated model of care that works in partnership with the
client and their family physician to include, home health, primary
health care services, community respiratory services, mental health,
and end of life care services," said Lynda Foley, Executive
Director, Clinical Programs and Operations.
Fraser Health, in collaboration with its Division of Family Practice
and community partners and partner organizations, is shifting to a
fully integrated, primary and community-based health care system.
This new way of delivering care is part of province-wide work to
ensure people can have the majority of their health care needs met
with seamless, high-quality care in their communities. The shift
aligns with the Home is BestTM philosophy that drives how Fraser
Health delivers care, acknowledging that home is the best place to
make life-altering decisions, recover from illness or injury, and
support healthy living to prevent disease.
The shift towards an integrated primary and community-based health
care is part of the B.C. Ministry of Health's innovation and change
agenda to improve patient care while managing growing health care
costs and ensuring sustainability.
COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and has an
increasing mortality rate. It accounts for the highest rate of
hospital admissions among all chronic diseases and many patients
have multiple stays in a single year. COPD symptoms, including a
long-lasting (chronic) cough, mucus that comes up when you cough and
shortness of breath that gets worse when you exercise, can hamper an
individual's ability to do the most routine daily activities and
prevent them from having a fulfilling life. COPD exacerbations or
lung attacks have similar consequences for patients as heart attacks
in terms of hospital admissions, quality of life, and mortality. But
lung attacks can be prevented from resulting in hospital admission.
About Fraser Health
www.fraserhealth.ca provides a wide range of integrated health
services to the largest and fastest growing population in B.C. The
health authority is committed to improving the health of the
population and the quality of life of more than 1.7 million people
living in communities from Burnaby to White Rock to Hope.
Copyright (c) 2013 The Valley Voice