New treatments, greater advocacy on the part of medical professionals, and an extremely active patient community have helped to raise awareness of COPD. November is a great time to redouble those efforts as the nation marks National COPD Awareness Month.
If you treat these patients in your practice – and nearly every respiratory therapist outside of neonatal-pediatrics does – then we urge you to take advantage of the national spotlight that will be turned towards COPD in the coming weeks to educate your community about this chronic lung disease.
Respiratory Patient Advocacy Summit
The AARC will be doing its part with the Respiratory Patient Advocacy Summit to be held on Nov. 6 just prior to opening day of the AARC Congress in Tampa, FL.
This afternoon-long event will zero in on the patient/respiratory therapist partnership through lectures and moderated roundtable discussions involving RTs, patient advocacy group representatives, and others who believe the key to better management of this chronic respiratory condition lies in better patient education.
Medicare Telehealth Parity Act
Another great way to advocate for COPD during the month of November is to support the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act. This groundbreaking legislation would expand coverage for health professionals, including respiratory therapists, to provide patient education via the new technologies out there today that make it possible to communicate directly with people across long distances.
That kind of access could make a huge difference in quality of life for COPD patients who so desperately need to learn more about their condition and how to best manage it from lung health experts like RTs. Learn more about the Act and how to support it on our Capitol Connection site.
COPD Month Resources from AARC
COPD Month is also a great time to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the COPD-related resources available from the AARC. Here’s a rundown of what we have available for you and your patients —
- A COPD TookKit that can help your patients and their caregivers develop the competence and confidence they need to manage COPD and decrease costly trips to the hospital.
- A Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program Toolkit explaining how to maximize your Medicare reimbursement for this essential program for COPD patients.
- Three guides to aerosol drug delivery written especially for respiratory therapists, physicians and other health care professionals, and patients and caregivers.
- A COPD Educator Course that can help position you for a greater role in COPD disease management in your hospital.
- An Alpha-1 Course covering everything from pathobiology to optimal management to emerging therapies for the leading genetic cause of COPD.
- A Guide to Portable Oxygen Concentrators aimed at bringing you up to speed on the portable systems out there today and how they can help your COPD patients get out and enjoy life despite their need for supplemental oxygen.
- A one hour video, Reducing Unplanned Hospital Readmissions: An Opportunity for the Respiratory Therapist, featuring a leading readmissions researcher and RT disease manager talking about the best ways to reduce readmissions for COPD.
Harness the power of social media
The AARC will be posting COPD-related messages on Facebook and Twitter throughout November as well, and we urge all our members to “share” and “re-tweet” these posts so they can reach the maximum number of people out there on social media.
Come up with some COPD-related posts of your own, and you just might find them shared or re-tweeted by the AARC too.
The best day to flood Facebook and Twitter with COPD-related posts: World COPD Day on Nov. 18. Just think of the impact we can make if every RT posts just one COPD-related message on these social media giants on that day alone!