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Best Practices for COPD in Post-Acute Care

presented by John R. Smith, MBA, RRT, CPFT

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: John R. Smith receives compensation from Highmark Home and Community Services and from Allegheny Health Network Forbes Hospital. He also receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course. Non-Financial: John R. Smith has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Video Runtime: 76 Minutes, Learning Assessments: 41 Minutes

A complete end-to-end program, encompassing the entire continuum of care, is needed in the management of patients with COPD. Most post-acute care facilities or companies lack the specific clinical expertise, knowledge of best practices, and equipment necessary to care for these patients. The course is applicable for all patient-care providers in home health, skilled nursing, long-term care, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and outpatient office settings. Providers may include, but are not limited to, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, nurses, social workers, and respiratory therapists.

Best Practices for COPD in Post-Acute Care addresses the aspects of clinical care necessary to care for a patient with COPD and provides suggestions on how to maximize this care and communicate along the continuum. The course follows evidence-based guidelines and practices, providing general knowledge in disease pathophysiology, exacerbation identification, assessment and care plan development, treatment and therapeutic modalities, pulmonary therapy, and transitions-of-care tools.

Meet Your Instructor

John R. Smith, MBA, RRT, CPFT

John has been employed as a respiratory therapist since 1985 and has worked clinically in all aspects of the healthcare continuum. He has also been a healthcare leader, overseeing members of multiple disciplines in his roles as a healthcare administrator, department director, and healthcare educator. He has been active in his local, state, and national…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Understanding of COPD

In order to communicate effectively and empathize with patients regarding their disease, it is necessary for all caregivers of patients with COPD to appreciate the clinical limitations and ramifications associated with this disease. An overview of normal lung function and that of emphysema and chronic bronchitis is provided. Facts about the prevalence and impact of COPD are mentioned.

2. Assessment and Recognition of Signs and Symptoms

To provide the appropriate level of care and address the needs of the COPD patient, a complete assessment and review of key clinical information is important. Additionally, recognition of clinical cues, such as demonstration of signs and symptoms of exacerbation of the disease, should be recognized by all clinical personnel in post-acute care to reduce readmissions and ensure the safety of the patient.

3. COPD Exacerbation Risk Assessment and Plan of Care Development

The determination of COPD and its severity, as well as the risk for exacerbation, provides the clinician forewarning of potential adverse effects of the disease. Utilization of diagnostic testing and clinical assessments provides insight into the manifestation of the disease and exacerbation risk. Tools that assess this risk as well as current health of the patient are discussed. Additionally, the development of a plan of care and use of clinical practice and evidence-based guidelines is suggested.

4. Oxygen, Respiratory Equipment, and Medication Administration

In order to ensure that patients with COPD are utilizing the most appropriate therapeutic modalities to address their disease characteristics, it is important for the clinician to recognize, understand, and be able to demonstrate the use of various oxygen, respiratory, and medication devices and equipment. A review of the indications for and use of various treatment modalities is provided. It is suggested that a respiratory therapist or competency-verified nurse, trained in the use of these and other therapeutic modalities, be utilized in the care of patients with COPD.

5. Pulmonary Therapy

It has been shown that patients who participate in pulmonary rehabilitation have better outcomes and control of their disease. In the post-acute environment, individually designed programs of physical exercise, completion of activities of daily living, and disease- and care-specific education can improve patient self-confidence, emotional well-being, and physical conditioning. The components, goals, continuation, and clinical roles and expectations of staff for a program of pulmonary therapy are discussed.

6. Transitions-of-Care Tools

Transitions-of-care tools include program guides, workbooks, teach-back learning, action plans, and transfer and referral forms that can be used throughout the continuum of care. These tools, when combined with regular check-ins, are the basis for consistency of care and communication throughout the continuum of care. Using this approach prevents patients from being forgotten or overlooked and ensures reinforcement of best practices for COPD.

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