News in brief: COPD patients not seeking help for exacerbations; Sleep disruption on hospital wards; Woolcock celebrates 40 years

Tuesday, 22 Jun 2021

COPD patients not seeking help for exacerbations

A large proportion of people with COPD (42%) do not see a health professional when having an exacerbation, a Lung Foundation of Australia survey has found.

And concerningly, most (64%) patients do not have a written management plan in place, and do not have regularly scheduled GP (49%) or specialist visits (48%) to review their condition, according to the survey findings released by LFA.

The Lived Experience research, based on responses from 388 people with COPD and/or emphysema and 46 carers, also found that there is still a significant level of stigma surrounding COPD and a perception from others that patients have brought it on themselves due to smoking.

Those surveyed said they had felt judgement primarily from strangers in the community (41%) but also from friends (24%),family (19%), work colleagues (26%) and even sometimes from those in the medical profession (28%).

Quiet please: noise the main reason for sleep disruption in hospitals

Almost half of hospital inpatients have their sleep disrupted, with noise being the main culprit, Australian research shows.

A study involving 60 patients at Melbourne’s Box Hill hospital found that sleep was disturbed in 45% of patients, with the problem common to those in shared rooms and those in single rooms distant from the nursing station.

Lighting levels were appropriately low across all the ward locations studied, whereas sound levels were higher in the shared and single rooms group compared to a ‘control’ setting of a sleep laboratory. Noise was also rated as the greatest environmental disturbance by 70% of ward patients compared to 10% in the sleep laboratory.

Operational interruptions were also a major factor in disrupted sleep, with patients experiencing an average of around six per night, according to the findings published in Sleep and Breathing.

Celebrations for 40 years of respiratory research

The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research is marking 40 years as a world-leading specialist sleep and respiratory research centre.

Established by the late Professor Ann Woolcock in 1981, it hosts respiratory research centres such as the Australian Centre for Airways Disease Monitoring, the Woolcock Emphysema Centre and the Woolcock Centre for Lung Cancer Research.

Flagship studies and outcomes have included the Childhood Asthma Prevention Study, Woolcock Vietnam’s work on TB screening and prevention, and the first trials of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

The Woolcock’s research has also contributed significantly to clinical and technical guidelines and spun off pharmaceutical company Ab Initio Pharma.


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