Developing a service for patients with very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) within resources

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common life-limiting illness with significant burden for patient and carer. Despite this, access to supportive and specialist palliative care is inconsistent and implementation of published good practice recommendations may be challenging within current resources. The aim of this service development was to improve local service provision in Barnsley, within the currently available resources, for patients with very severe COPD, to improve patient identification and symptom management, increase advance care planning and the numbers of patients dying in their preferred place, and increase patient and carer support and satisfaction. To do this a working group was formed, the service problems identified and baseline data collected to identify the needs of people with very severe COPD. A multidisciplinary team meeting was piloted and assessed by community matron feedback, patient case studies and an after death analysis. These indicated a high level of satisfaction, with improvements in advance care planning, co-ordination of management and support for patients’ preferred place of care at the end of life. In conclusion this is the first reported very severe COPD service development established in this way and within current resources. Preliminary data indicates the development of the multidisciplinary team meeting has been positive. The appointment of a coordinator will aid this development. Further evaluations particularly seeking patient views and estimations of cost savings will be performed.

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