Pharmacists can improve COPD care

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive disease disturbing a patient’s ability to breath and affects 6.3% of adults nationally. It is described by the CDC as a group of diseases causing air flow blockage and can include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.

In this article, a pharmacy resident noticed that COPD was a growing issue in the patient population he cared for and began a program to establish a pharmacist managed COPD clinic, much like other programs for anticoagulation therapy or infectious disease. He stabled a program to use his ability and knowledge of pharmacist to optimize COPD therapy and monitor patient inhaler techniques in collaboration with other healthcare providers. This clinic also made it possible for patient’s prescribed an inhaler during their hospital stay to keep the device after discharge. Previously these inhalers were going to waste and being thrown out, while patients were going without their medication. Through discharge counseling and education at the clinic, patient health improved, showing a decrease from 21% to 9% patients readmitted within 30 days after discharge. Even after his residency has ended, patients are still referred to this COPD clinic highlighting its success.

This article represents the benefit that pharmacist intervention and management of patients’ disease states and therapy can have. Furthermore, as future pharmacists we must serve as advocates for our patients and recognize when their needs are not being met. The pharmacist in this article was able to identify a problem and create a solution to provide the best possible care to his patients. As we have learned last semester, it is essential to recognize situations where a pharmacist can optimize patient care in an area that we are passionate about to create our own jobs and learning opportunities, much like this pharmacy resident has done.

Reference:

Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 2015;72:2004-2006.

http://www.ajhp.org/content/72/23/2004.full.pdf+html