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A chronic disease management programme can reduce days in hospital for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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Abstract Background: 

A steady increase in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) admissions was addressed by enhancing primary care to provide intensive chronic disease management. Aim: 

To compare the effect of a disease management programme, including a COPD management guideline, a patient-specific care plan and collaboration between patients, general practitioners, practice nurses, hospital physicians and nurse specialists with conventional care, on hospital admissions and quality of life. Methods: 

One hundred and thirty-five patients with a clinical diagnosis of moderate to severe COPD were identified from hospital admission data and general practice records. General practices were randomized to either conventional care (CON), or the intervention (INT). Pre- and post-study assessment included spirometry, Shuttle Walk Test, Short Form-36, and the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ). Admission data were compared for 12 months prior to and during the trial. Results:

For respiratory conditions, mean hospital bed days per patient per year for the INT group were reduced from 2.8 to 1.1, whereas those for the CON group increased from 3.5 to 4.0 (group difference, P = 0.030) The INT group also showed an improvement for two dimensions of the CRQ, fatigue (P = 0.010) and mastery (P = 0.007). Conclusions:

A chronic disease management programme for COPD patients that incorporated a variety of interventions, including pulmonary rehabilitation and implemented by primary care, reduced admissions and hospital bed days. Key elements were patient participation and information sharing among healthcare providers. (Intern Med J 2004; 34: 608−614)

Keywords: care plan; disease management; primary care; quality of life

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Clinical Research and Effective Practice, Middlemore Hospital, 2: Biostatistics, Department of Community Medicine, University of Auckland, 3: Department of Medicine and 4: South-Med Ltd. and 5: ProCare Health Ltd., Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: November 1, 2004


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