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AIM tackles COPD

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AIM tackles COPD

The AIM for health team are pleased to announce that two new COPD protocols are now available for general practice.

AIM-11 is for COPD patients who are non-smokers, and AIM-12 is for COPD plus encouragement to stop smoking. Both protocols follow the management plan included in the full protocols available on this website.

Each day patients are asked the colour of their sputum, which they assess against a colour chart. If the colour is 4 or 5, they are asked if they are feeling unwell, and if so, to take their temperature and send the reading in.

If they have a high temperature, they are asked if they are more breathless than usual, and if their breathing is how it usually is when they have an exacerbation, they are asked to take their rescue medication, and to inform the nurse within two days.

Patients are asked for their SATS readings daily, and these form a part of the picture in the patient’s record. A low reading does not in itself trigger the instruction to take rescue medication, because some patients regularly have very low readings.

Every two weeks, patients are asked to send in their weight reading, and every four weeks they are asked if they are doing ‘something active most days’. Also, every four weeks they are asked two questions about whether they are depressed. If they have two consecutive months of replying with a high score for these depression questions, the clinician is alerted so that they can take whatever action they feel is necessary.

Patients also receive a daily message giving them information, helpful messages of encouragement, or advice.

For the first three months of the protocol, patients are asked each month for their views about Flo. The protocol can run for one year before the patient needs to be re-enrolled.

A separate consent form is available, if you want to use it. The difference from the usual form is that the patient agrees to inform the surgery when they take their rescue medication, and also if their rescue medication does not improve their condition.

Our experience from piloting this use of Florence has been that patients with COPD really welcome Flo, as they feel empowered, and much more positive about their condition; they consult the nurse or GP less often, and hospital admissions are greatly reduced.