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Southern DHB launch integrated service for COPD patients

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A new electronic standardised discharge process for patients admitted to Dunedin hospital with acute Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) means patients have more integrated care between hospital and general practice, rehabilitation and community-based services.

COPD is a disease affecting the lungs and airways, causing breathing difficulties. Most often caused by smoking, it is among the most common long-term conditions in New Zealand, impacting 200,000 New Zealanders, including 15% of people over 45 years old.

COPD pathway

Photo of Ward 7A team members celebrating the ‘Click to Tick’ COPD checklist launch

A comprehensive ‘Click to Tick’ electronic COPD checklist was launched last week in Ward 7A at Dunedin Hospital that ensures patients receive referrals and advice for correct medicine and inhaler use, pulmonary rehabilitation options, and information about smoking cessation, healthy homes, and advance care planning.  Booking a fully funded follow-up general practice appointment one to two weeks post discharge is also part of the ‘Click to Tick’ process. This fully-funded GP appointment was launched by WellSouth primary health network in October.

During a patient’s admission, medical teams complete the COPD checklist electronically and highlight relevant points to the patient’s GP for further attention at the follow up appointment. As well as relevant advice during a patients’ time in hospital their follow up appointment will be made prior to discharge to ensure continuity of care.

“The COPD checklist including the free GP appointment is a simple way to help patients get home sooner, stay well at home, and prevent hospital readmissions,” says Dr Jack Dummer, Southern DHB respiratory specialist, who was part of team who developed the COPD discharge checklist.