Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) courses can decrease hospital center readmissions, shorten time spent in the hospital and lower death rates in COPD patients.
This is the finding of a report published by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), which included that GPs had a ‘huge role to play’, in referring more patients.
The RCP’s examination, which reviewed the hospital facility admissions and mortality of 7,135 patients in England following assessment for PR, concluded that transforming referral practice in acute and primary care settings to improve access to and take-up of PR should to be a priority for healthcare commissioners and providers’.
In any case, it added this must be matched by CCGs ensuring sufficient ability to take care of demand’ for PR.
The examination found that 76% of COPD patients who finished their PR course kept away from hospital admission within a half year after their initial assessment, compared with 62.1% who did not.
Patients who did not finish their PR course within a half year after their initial assessment, spent twice as long in hospital – 9.6 days in a half year – compared with the individuals who were also admitted and completed a course – 4.8 days in a half year.
Within three months, 1.6% of COPD patients had died compared with 0.1% who had finished PR treatment. Within a half year, it was 3.2% compared with 0.5%.
Professor Michael Steiner, national COPD audit clinical lead for pulmonary rehabilitation and a consultant respiratory doctor, said: ‘The PR review report highlights the advantages delivered to patients by attending to and finishing PR.
‘GPs and their practice groups have an immense part to play as they frequently have regular contact with patients and can do as such much to improve referral rates.
‘GPs who are involved with local commissioning will also have a huge role to play in developing integrated care pathways that improve access to PR for patients.’
Dr. Lisa Davies, consultant respiratory physician, and chair of the British Thoracic Society’s Board of Trustees included: ‘The outcomes of this comprehensive review indicate exactly how useful pulmonary rehabilitation can be to individuals living with COPD.
‘The treatment is a real “win-win” option, offering excellent clinical results while additionally being a very efficient use of NHS resources.’
This follows a recent report finding that spirometry access to primary care helps to accurately diagnose COPD.