Hospital readmissions for deteriorating COPD are on the rise and GP practice teams should do more to help prevent this happening, a Royal College of Physicians report has concluded.
The College’s national COPD audit in secondary care found that during 2014, 43% of people admitted for treatment of COPD were readmitted at least once in the three months after discharge – up from 33% in 2008.
Over half of readmissions were among older people with multiple health conditions, and many had also been admitted to hospital in the months prior to the audit.
The report authors called for primary care teams to follow-up every patient soon after discharge, and to identify COPD patients at risk of deterioration, as well as for hospitals to do better discharge planning.
The authors recommended ‘early review of every discharged case by a suitable primary care team member, to identify issues that may place the patient at increased risk of readmission and to ensure high value interventions have been addressed’.
And they said ’primary care teams should ‘devote resource to identifying, reviewing and enhancing the management of those COPD patients on their lists who are deemed at particular risk of hospital admission’.
Carol Stonham, a respiratory nurse specialist in Gloucestershire and nurse lead for the Primary Care Respiratory Society, said: ‘We need to share what we know to identify the most high risk patients; to utilise the passion and knowledge of respiratory specialists in secondary and community care to enhance the offer to these patients who manage their illness in the community.
‘We need to work with social care to enable patients to get home more quickly with the right support. We have to think beyond the old divides if care is to be effective and sustainable for patients with COPD.’