Monday, March 4, 2013



Health News

Breathing Easier at Home  

FHA begins COPD self-care program in Chilliwack

Released by Fraser Health Authority


angley 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 Westminster.


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.

BreatheWELL at 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.

"Expanding 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%.

"BreatheWELL is 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.

About COPD
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
Fraser Health 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.



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