Lung centre results mean patients can breathe easy

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Patients visiting the North Bristol Lung Centre can breathe easy after the centre received excellent results from a Royal College of Physicians audit.
The centre, which looks after patients who have breathing problems due to lung disease, was assessed as part of the Royal College’s national benchmarking audit of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
The centre performed better than average in checks around respiratory care, discharge and rehabilitation; with results revealing that 95 percent of patients were seen by a specialist respiratory doctor or nurse compared with 78 percent nationally.
NBT also performed above average for numbers of patients being re-admitted to hospital. Less than 20 per cent of patients were re-admitted within three months of discharge, compared to a national average of 33 per cent – demonstrating the effectiveness of community care and rehabilitation.
James Calvert, Lung Specialist, said: “Audit results confirm that North Bristol NHS Trust is one of the safest trusts in the UK for patients with exacerbations of COPD. Patients are more likely to be cared for by a specialist while they’re in hospital, and to be cared for at home by a specialist nurse after discharge.
“These results are testimony to the success of the recently formed North Bristol Lung Centre - a collaboration between NBT and local PCTs to provide world class respiratory care for patients in Bristol.
“I would like to congratulate the nurses and other team members who have contributed to this result.”

The centre also runs the regions only respiratory ‘hot’ clinic, staffed by a respiratory consultant, a respiratory nurse specialist, and a specialist registrar. The clinic’s objective is to prevent the admission of patients with acute respiratory problems. GPs can refer patients to the clinic directly, rather than patients having to be admitted, and patients can return home the same day.
Kay Channon, a COPD patient who uses the service, said: “The service provided by North Bristol Lung Centre is outstanding. I am a COPD sufferer and over the years my condition has varied, which means I need to be closely monitored.
“On one of the occasions where my condition had deteriorated significantly I was referred by my GP to the “hot clinic”. After returning home from the GP, I had an answerphone message asking me to come into the hot clinic at lunchtime the very same day.
“When I came into the clinic I saw a specialist, had a CT scan, and from the results of the scan was prescribed a different drug to help with my breathing.

“This means so much as I do not have to go into hospital and can recover at home, where I am more relaxed and can be close to my partner. The Acute Respiratory Assessment Service (ARAS) nurses are also brilliant as they come to my home on a daily basis to help with my treatment.
“I am also taking part in a computer link research project, which is where I have a computer based at my home which asks me questions on a daily basis about my condition - such as breathlessness. It also takes readings from a probe on my finger which checks the oxygen in my blood and my heart rate.
“The results are then sent to a hospital system and when the nurses log on at Southmead they can access my results. If they need me to do anything they will call me - it provides me with a wonderful peace of mind.

“The rehabilitation team are also great, and the Lung Exercise and Education Programme (LEEP) based at Frenchay Hospital really help. I initially visited the hospital twice a week for a two-hour session, which involves an hour of education about how the lungs work and then an hour to exercise and strengthen chest muscles.
“This is great as it keeps me active, and knowing more about my condition means it is not so frightening if something is wrong. I now attend a one hour session on a weekly basis to maintain my fitness.”

The North Bristol Lung Centre is one of the largest centres that manage COPD in the UK and data was submitted on 60 patients admitted between March 2008 and May 2008.
COPD is the overall term used to describe a variety of illnesses, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. People with COPD have permanently damaged lungs and find it difficult to breathe most of the time.