Starting a COPD Program

 Updated: October 30, 2018

image of man in hospital bed

Providing a network of support, education, and guidance for your COPD patients greatly benefits their health care. But how do you start developing a COPD Program for your patients? We asked AARC Member Denise McKinnon, RRT, AE-C, CTTS, from Duke University Hospital in North Carolina, to share her tips for developing a COPD Program.

About Duke’s program

According to McKinnon, Duke has a COPD navigator who serves as a patient advocate, disease manager, and educator throughout the continuum of care. She explained that they use the international GOLD guidelines in their practice. This provides evidenced-based and patient-tailored care.

“We provide education to patients and families empowering them to self-manage their disease,” McKinnon said.

Value of developing a COPD program

“Having an effective COPD program will improve a patient’s quality of life and outcomes by reducing the impact of symptoms and exacerbations,” McKinnon said.

It also helps improve a hospital’s bottom line.

“Reduction in hospital admissions decreases the cost of care,” McKinnon said.

Tips for developing a COPD program

  • Ensure administrative support within the health care system.
  • Collaborate with the health team members who play a role in the care of the patient.
  • Choose the right person for the navigator role.
    • They must have a specialized working knowledge of COPD.
    • They should have a program vision and human compassion.
  • Include a skilled IT team to monitor readmissions and patient satisfaction.

Keep the conversation going

Does your hospital have a COPD program? Share your tips and experiences with your colleagues at AARConnect.