Exploring COPD care pathway in different EU countries

Kayyali, Reem, Odeh, Bassel, Frerichs, Inez, Davies, Nikki, Perantoni, Eleni, D'Arcy, Shona, Vaes, Anouk, Elnabhani, Shereen, Chang, Jong, Spruit, Martin A, Deering, Brenda, Philip, Nada, Siva, Rosan, Kaimakamis, Evangelos, Chouvarda, Ioanna, Pierscionek, Barbara, Weiler, Norbert and Raptopoulos, Andreas (2014) Exploring COPD care pathway in different EU countries. European Respiratory Journal, 44(1), ISSN (print) 0903-1936


Background: Successful COPD management requires a multidisciplinary approach. Current evidence shows that improvement in quality of life and reduction in healthcare costs can be achieved by integrating care via telehealth. Maintaining adherence and lifestyle management is another important aspect of COPD follow-up. Objectives: This study is part of WELCOME EU project (www.welcome-project.eu). It aims to map current COPD care pathway in 5 European countries (Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands & UK) and identify how telehealth can integrate it. Method: Healthcare professionals from 5 collaborative partners were interviewed using a qualitative, semi-structured 2 stages email interview. Results: Lack of communication among different healthcare providers managing COPD and co-morbidities is a common feature of the studied care pathways. GPs/family doctors are responsible for liaising between different teams/services, bar Greece where this is done through pulmonologists. Ireland and the UK are the only countries with services for patients at home to shorten unnecessary hospital stay. In all countries, the lifestyle management service provided is similar with no specific tools used to enhance patients' adherence. Furthermore, no specified role/training exists for informal carers (partners, family & friends). Conclusion: Service and professional integration between care settings using a unified system targeting COPD and co-morbidities is a priority. Better communication between healthcare providers, establishing a clear role for informal carers and enhancing patients' adherence could optimise current care pathways resulting in a better integrated system. This could be achieved using a patient-centred telehealth system.

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