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AARC to Participate in Development of In-Hospital COPD Management Protocol

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August 4, 2011

The AARC is joining colleagues from the American College of Chest Physicians, Society of Hospital Medicine, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the American College of Emergency Physicians in a new project aimed at developing a protocol for the management of patients in the hospital setting with confirmed or suspected COPD. An initial meeting occurred on Thursday, July 28 to begin work on this ambitious project to improve in-hospital care for COPD patients nationwide.

This effort will seek to address deficiencies and opportunities in emergency department, acute care, and post discharge of patients with COPD.

The protocol will focus on:

  • Development of a critical pathway (care bundle) for patients hospitalized with an exacerbation of COPD.
  • Review of current published evidence-based COPD guidelines and to make recommendations based on existing high-grade evidence.
  • Providing guidance to clinicians involved in management of COPD patients.
  • Recommendations on adherence to established guidelines and discharge recommendations to ensure timely and appropriate follow-up.

The initiative is kicking off with the formation of an expert advisory panel to be chaired by a nationally recognized COPD thought leader. Panel members will then be selected from the member organizations. The Joint Commission will be represented as well, along with select experts representing institutions recognized nationally for their management of COPD and individuals noted for their work in the area of COPD management through published literature, presentations, and professional appointments.

The panel will review existing protocols, assemble the components of identified best practices in COPD, and identify common themes that can be crafted into protocols that will work in a variety of hospital settings. Ten pilot sites will be chosen to beta-test the feasibility of the assembled protocol, followed by a cumulative report on outcomes from the ten sites which will be assembled for publication or presentation. The final In-Hospital Protocol for the Management of COPD will then be made available to all participating organizations to be posted on their websites, as well as published as a supplement to CHEST.

The AARC wants to position all qualified RTs to coordinate COPD care in hospitals and this effort will help move us towards that goal. We look forward to participating in this important process and will communicate with members as this effort moves forward.