Breathing easier with all the comforts of home

July 14, 2016

Program helps patients with chronic lung disease cope better in familiar surroundings

Story by Mikayla Yasinski

Home Care clients in Edmonton living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are spending less time in hospitals and emergency departments thanks to a national initiative that helps them and their caregivers better manage their chronic condition at home.

This has been the experience for Sherwood Park couple Donna and Bucky Stochinky who have been working with a team focused on moving care for patients with chronic COPD from hospital to home, and empowering them with ways they can manage it on their own.

Bucky has COPD and was in hospital four times in the 12 months preceding their participation in the program. Bucky was worried that his condition and reliance on emergency care and hospital stays would prevent him from attending his daughter’s wedding.

The Edmonton Zone Home Care program was the only program to participate nationally and was one of 19 teams from healthcare organizations in all 10 provinces who collaborated with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) to transform care for people living with COPD as well as to support their caregivers.

In partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd., CFHI pledged $1 million to support the teams; each received $50,000 to adapt and put into place the INSPIRED COPD Outreach ProgramTM.

Anita Murphy, Director for Home Living in Edmonotn Zone for Alberta Health Services (AHS), says this initiative showed how using the capacity they have in the community can help patients and families.

“By providing medical services and being proactive in the community and integrating existing programs like our EMS Treat and Care in place program, we can have a big impact for patients, families and the system as a whole,” says Murphy.

The Edmonton Home Care Team identified clients who were home bound and required an interdisciplinary team approach to manage their care in the community.

The program enrolled 885 patients across Canada. For 146 of those patients who participated in the program over a three-month period, their hospitalizations decreased by 80 per cent. Fifty patients from the Edmonton area were part of the program. They reported greater self-confidence, improved symptom management and a return to daily activities such as climbing stairs, exercising, travelling and returning to work.

Murphy adds that she’s using what they learned from the program to improve their approach to Chronic Disease Management.

Bucky says he’s now doing things he never thought were imaginable: “You have given me back the quality of my life, by caring for me in the home, which is allowing me choices and opportunities that I have not had in years.”

The Stochinkys were delighted to be able to travel to Calgary to attend their daughter’s wedding.

“It was the best day of my life,” says Bucky.

Adds Donna: “It was the best day of all their lives.”