Starting a COPD Program

 Published: October 30, 2018

By: Heather Willden

image of man in hospital bed

Providing a network of support, education, and guidance for your COPD patients greatly benefits their health care. But how do you start developing a COPD Program for your patients? We asked AARC Member Denise McKinnon, RRT, AE-C, CTTS, from Duke University Hospital in North Carolina, to share her tips for developing a COPD Program.

About Duke’s program

According to McKinnon, Duke has a COPD navigator who serves as a patient advocate, disease manager, and educator throughout the continuum of care. She explained that they use the international GOLD guidelines in their practice. This provides evidenced-based and patient-tailored care.

“We provide education to patients and families empowering them to self-manage their disease,” McKinnon said.

Value of developing a COPD program

“Having an effective COPD program will improve a patient’s quality of life and outcomes by reducing the impact of symptoms and exacerbations,” McKinnon said.

It also helps improve a hospital’s bottom line.

“Reduction in hospital admissions decreases the cost of care,” McKinnon said.

Tips for developing a COPD program

  • Ensure administrative support within the health care system.
  • Collaborate with the health team members who play a role in the care of the patient.
  • Choose the right person for the navigator role.
    • They must have a specialized working knowledge of COPD.
    • They should have a program vision and human compassion.
  • Include a skilled IT team to monitor readmissions and patient satisfaction.

Keep the conversation going

Does your hospital have a COPD program? Share your tips and experiences with your colleagues at AARConnect.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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