Nurses who are specialzed with specific skills do home care which is advantageous for people with lung disease. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema - or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - can be very disabling, because of breathlessness and impaired lung function. A new study from researchers at Barcelona Hospital, Spain, shows that assigning patients with COPD to specialist nurse care in the home setting cuts costs, re-admission to hospital and improves patients' awareness of their condition.
A group of 215 patients, admitted to hospital with COPD, were assigned either to usual care or to specialist nurse home-based care. The latter group were discharged as soon as possible and visited at home by the nurse on up to five occasions, as well as having unlimited phone access through a special 'hotline'.
The home care group enjoyed a 65 per cent reduction in return visits to the emergency room, compared to the controls. They also made more progress in understanding their illness. After eight weeks, 52 per cent knew all about COPD, compared to just 30 per cent of controls. And 83 per cent of the home group had learned how to inhale properly, thanks to nurse education, compared to 50 per cent of controls.
The home care treatment reduced costs by 38 per cent - since these patients spent less time in hospital. What is more, the patients did not even require their full entitlement of care - most managed on just two nurse visits rather than the five permitted.