Lung Foundation Australia has launched a health professional campaign – Are you ready to have the CHAT – to help them prepare patients with COPD for the increased risk of exacerbations in winter.
Chair of the Foundation’s GP Advisory Group Dr Kerry Hancock told the limbic the health professional-targeted campaign would be followed by a community awareness campaign in May.
“We’re very much aware that COPD exacerbations are more prevalent in the winter months putting our patients with COPD at higher risk of hospitalisation, and potentially more serious outcomes from their exacerbations,” she said.
“So GPs and other health professionals including specialists, practice nurses and respiratory nurses can assist our patients with COPD prepare for the winter months firstly by making them aware of the symptoms of an exacerbation or a worsening of their lung condition, by using the acronym CHAT.”
The CHAT campaign focuses on:
- Coughing more than usual,
- Harder to breathe than usual,
- Any change in sputum, and
- Tired more than usual.
Doctors needed to remind patients with COPD that if they were getting those signs and symptoms, they may need to start doing something so it doesn’t get out of control. For example, they need to understand and be prepared to follow their COPD Action Plan.
“It’s an opportunity also to ensure patients are on the correct medications for managing their COPD and that they are taking them. It’s also an opportunity to review their inhaler technique and make sure they are taking them correctly.”
The health professionals’ page on the campaign site includes links to checklists, online training, COPD-X guidelines, and the COPD Online Patient Education program (COPE).
“It’s also worth considering the value of referring patients with COPD to pulmonary rehabilitation, which we know has really good outcomes.”
“The other thing health professionals can do is ensure patients with COPD have their influenza vaccination, and that will be all ready to go by early May, and making sure their pneumococcal vaccination is up to date as well.”