Background Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a life-limiting condition. In 2012 it contributed to 5.3% of the total deaths in the United Kingdom. Historically, patients with COPD have not accessed specialist palliative care services. However, there is evidence that patients with COPD have as disabling symptoms as those with cancer. It has been suggested that services need to engage with the COPD population differently due to the insidious disease course and trajectory.
Aim To investigate whether collaborative working has increased access for patients with COPD to palliative care services.
Methods Using the local hospice’s CrossCare system we have investigated activity data for Wolverhampton patients in the hospice’s different settings; community, day hospice, outpatient and inpatient unit. Data was collected from 2012–13 and 2015–16 to see the impact of a three-pronged strategy of education of the whole health economy, set up of a joint respiratory clinic and a multidisciplinary team meeting to discuss potential palliative patients. Patients with a primary referral diagnosis of COPD were included.
Results Collaborative working has increased access of patients with COPD to all hospice services from 2012/13 to 2015/16. There has been a 283% increase in patient numbers seen in day hospice. There was an 88% increase in patients seen by the community team and a 403% increase in the number of visits. There has been a 286% increase in patients seen in outpatients by the multidisciplinary team. There were no patients admitted to the inpatient unit in 2012–13 and 13 patients were admitted 2015–16 with 20 inpatient spells. This enabled four people with COPD to die at the hospice.
Conclusion Patients with COPD in the Wolverhampton area have demonstrable palliative care needs. This is an example of how collaborative working can improve access for this patient group.
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