You have been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. It is caused by damage to the lungs over many years and it gets worse over time.
How we address readmission of high-risk patients with COPD
Alexis Gallardo Foreman, NP
Alexis Gallardo Foreman, NP, designated COPD specialist, and Jinesa Howard, Community Health Worker, work collaboratively to reduce readmission of high risk COPD/asthmatic patients hospital-wide. Patients are met at the bedside and provided education on their disease process, introduced to medications to help reduce flares, inhaler technique is observed and refined, and an appointment is negotiated at the bedside to engage the patient in Pulmonary Care immediately post-discharge.
Both Jinesa and Alexis are trained Tobacco Cessation Specialists who offer smoking cessation education and recommendations for nicotine replacement therapy. Together, the team works to remove barriers to care i.e. transportation, food insecurity and housing with the end goal of reducing readmissions.
How to reduce your risk of a COPD exacerbation:
- Use your medications appropriately
- Stop smoking
- Pursed lip breathing
- Exercise safely
- Have an action plan with your provider in case your breathing worsens
Things to address to reduce your stress:
- Make sure insurance is updated with current address
- Make sure PT-1 is updated for your transportation
- Inquire with PCP or specialist about having your medication/inhalers delivered to your home
- Notify your provider if you have any social barriers like lack of food, inability to pay rent or utilities, lack of childcare, etc.
Keys to Success
COPD can't be cured but you can learn how to take control of COPD and even reduce the symptoms. The following keys to success can help you better manage your COPD:
- Control COPD exacerbations by taking your inhalers as prescribe
- Control your breathing
- Keep your health on track by keeping appointments, requesting refills on time and getting your annual flu vaccinations.