Working with counterparts at other hospitals to improve services for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has important benefits for clinicians.
That’s the finding from a study published last month by the Royal College of Physicians. However, it does not significantly improve outcomes for patients, the report concluded.
Report co-author Professor Mike Roberts, a consultant respiratory physician at Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust in London, said this approach ‘does a lot to improve the morale of teams and helped to raise the profile of COPD and create links with other organisations.’
The study into the effectiveness of mutual peer review visits was carried out by the Royal College of Physicians, the British Thoracic Society and the British Lung Foundation and was funded by the Health Foundation.
The national COPD resources and outcomes project paired multidisciplinary teams in respiratory care, including physiotherapists, from one hospital with another to work on improving key services for COPD patients. The project first ran in 2007, and was repeated in 2010.
82 respiratory units took part in the 2010 project, but those units receiving peer review visits did not show any more quantitative benefits than the control group. The authors suggest this was because of the difficulty in maintaining service improvements within an environment of continual organisational change.
However, Professor Roberts told Frontline that the study showed the approach was more effective in achieving specific goals where frameworks were set. For example, the intervention group made more progress in improving access to pulmonary rehabilitation.
The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care added that it was encouraging that access to early supported discharge, non-invasive ventilation and palliative care has improved markedly since 2007, although the decrease in hospital based pulmonary rehab programmes may give cause for concern.
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