Implementing new services for respiratory patients across the Western area.
In 2007 there were around 46,000 people living in Northern Ireland with a respiratory disease. This is expected to rise to 56,000 by 2020.
A respiratory disease is a long term condition affecting the lungs causing breathing difficulties. It is one of the main causes of emergency hospital admissions in Northern Ireland.
In line with the Transforming Your Care programme, the Western Integrated Care Partnerships have supported the Respiratory teams in the Western Health and Social Care Trust to enhance the service for patients living with long term respiratory disease.
The highly experienced teams, based at Altnagelvin and South West Acute hospitals, have developed a range of services to improve patient care having been inspired by research and visits to award-winning teams in England. One of the developments is the introduction of virtual clinics working with community and primary care offering:
Championing the new service, Dr Terence McManus, Respiratory Consultant at South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen said:
“Having been inspired by the respiratory services offered in other NHS Trusts in England, we wanted to develop services in the Western area that would cater especially for our wider rural community. For example our outreach clinics have allowed respiratory services to be delivered closer to patient’s homes.
“The benefits of having the variety of responsive services have already showed a significant impact on the quality of lives of patients with respiratory conditions having reduced the need for some patients to be admitted to hospital or remain in hospital longer than they require. This is in line with the principles set out in Transforming Your Care, which enables care to be provided closer to home and on a more individual basis.”
One respiratory patient who has benefitted from the new services commented:
“This is a very efficient, well delivered and convenient service for patients.”
Another development is the enhancement of the Community Respiratory Teams with the introduction of two community-based Respiratory Physiotherapists. This has allowed patients with respiratory disease to have chest physiotherapy in their homes, reducing hospital admissions and hospital length of stay. Their introduction has also helped to reduce the waiting times for rehabilitation. Furthermore, two Respiratory Nurses have taken up post to carry out assessments for home oxygen. This has resulted in the reduction of waiting times for oxygen assessment, from 13 months to three months in the Northern sector of the Trust.
Feedback to date has shown a significant positive impact on the introduction of a Respiratory Pharmacist who is working with primary care to review patient medication, assess inhaler technique and most importantly to educate patients and carers on their condition.
Future developments include the integration of the current Respiratory Community Teams with access to palliative care, pulmonary rehabilitation and all the services essential to allow appropriate patients to remain closer to home during a flare up of their disease.