Patients with permanent, significant lung disease are a high-risk, vulnerable population.
Aside from the heightened anxiety that comes from increasingly labored breathing, patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are at risk for a number of serious health complications.
Tucson Medical Center set a goal of improving and standardizing the quality of care for these patients, to help keep them as healthy as possible and out of the hospital. “Rather than reinvent the wheel, we thought we would take advantage of our relationship with Mayo Clinic and learn more about their standard of care for this group,” said Brenda Carle, TMC’s Transitional Care Coordinator.
Staff from TMC, including a pulmonologist, nurses from the units and the manager of respiratory therapy, jumped on a teleconference with Mayo staff to share information on developing an inpatient care pathway, as well as a readmission prevention program for patients with pulmonary disease.
Mayo shared a decision tree and protocols, as well as patient questionnaires .
As TMC continued its research, it was determined that patients were often too weak to use the inhalers prescribed to them. The TMC Foundation funded new devices that helped respiratory therapists assess medication delivery effectiveness. That, combined with new order sets and procedures, allowed TMC to launch a new pilot project. Readmission rates dropped to 12.5 percent – significantly below the national rate of 20 percent.
“It was nice to know that because of our relationship with Mayo Clinic, we would have access to best practices that have already been effective in better supporting our patients,” Carle said. “The Mayo Clinic Care Network is just a great resource for its members who are looking to develop programs that will work for their own organizations.”