Program focuses on COPD patients

Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease could benefit from funding for a new program.

  • Mar. 6, 2013 7:00 a.m.

Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which is a chronic condition that obstructs air flow in a patient’s lungs, could benefit from funding for a new program.

Interior Health will  direct $2.2 million to a program called BreatheWell.

In Salmon Arm, Interior Health has hired a respiratory therapist to work with COPD patients in the community, to manage symptoms and help avoid unnecessary hospital visits. There will also be a role for expanded rehabilitation efforts and education.

Salmon Arm is one of several communities within Interior Health to receive funding. Communities were selected based on a number of factors, including the prevalence of related conditions and the demand for additional community-based supports.

COPD is one of the leading causes of death in Canada and rates continue to increase. Statistics show within Interior Health the percentage of patients with COPD has climbed from 5.4 per cent in 2001 to 7.8 per cent in 2010. The unpredictable and serious nature of “flare-ups,” when symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, and mucous become acute, means many COPD patients often must use hospital emergency departments.