Today is World COPD Day (18 November) and in the year of the Covid pandemic, it’s never been a more important time to draw attention to this chronic lung condition.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has a huge impact on affected patients and typically, a Covid diagnosis for these patients can be devastating.
NHSGGC Respiratory teams responded rapidly to the pandemic and have developed a series of novel interventions to support our COPD patients at home. These interventions have provided rapid access to experienced clinical staff to help deal with their condition in a safe and effective way during the Covid pandemic – with more than 2,500 referrals being responded to.
Consultant Dr David Anderson said: “2020 and the Covid pandemic have been a difficult year for everyone – but especially so for those with COPD. Our patients have found the last nine months particularly challenging.
“A large proportion of patients with COPD were asked to shield in the first months of the pandemic, in the knowledge that they would struggle if infected with Coronovirus. This has, in some cases resulted in deconditioning of patients where they have become so unfit, walking is an even bigger struggle now.
“Crucial therapies, such as pulmonary rehabilitation and access to clinical staff to deal with the condition, have been increasingly difficult as a result of Covid. This is why we have come up with a number of ways to address this including establishing and deploying a community respiratory response team. The team brought together experts from different fields, including nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists and support workers. This care for acute respiratory patients avoided patients being admitted to hospital.
“The objective was to provide a safe alternative to hospital admission for patients with COPD, providing oxygen support where required in the community and nursing homes. This also provided vital support to enable early discharge from hospital wards. In the first wave of the pandemic over 2500 referrals were received and patients were successfully treated in the community.”