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Improving care and treatment for patients suffering with respiratory illness

Clare Whalley, Frimley Health and Care ICS programme lead for the Reducing Variations programme

A new system is being introduced across the Frimley Health and Care ICS, which will improve the diagnosis, care and treatment of patients who suffer with long term breathing difficulties caused through lung disease.

The improvements will help clinicians with their diagnosis of lung illnesses; provide patients with more confidence and education about how they can also be involved in managing their own specific lung related illness at home rather than having to be admitted to hospital when they do not need to be; and create improved knowledge and skills among clinical staff at GP practices, who look after patients with specific lung diseases.

We caught up recently with Clare Whalley, Frimley Health and Care ICS programme lead for the Reducing Variations programme, to hear of these recent exciting developments.

Clare highlighted that several specialist nurses from across Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey, are now working at a system-wide level with GP practices, which means they visit local GP practices with the aim of supporting and reviewing patient registers, specifically those with a diagnosis of lung disease.

These specialist nurses support GP practice staff and patients to improve the diagnosis, treatment and care of lung disease. 

The process begins with verifying a patient’s diagnosis, reviewing their signs and symptoms and prescribed medicines. They also give advice to patients and offer structured education, including supporting self-management plans where possible, and assist patients with monitoring their individual specific conditions.

The specialist nurses act as a fresh pair of eyes to help ensure that patients with a long-term lung condition receive the most appropriate care according to their needs. They work to the nationally-accredited ‘GOLD’ standard reference criteria for lung diseases, which measures the severity of a patient's condition.  The information and knowledge is also shared with practice nurses at a local level which, importantly, helps to improve their education and knowledge of lung disease.

Frimley Health and Care ICS is keen to establish not only the impact this process has on patients, but also how those patients access health and social care services across the whole area. 

Clare said:  “We want this to be positive for patients; making them more resilient and more confident in managing their individual condition, so that if they have an exacerbation of their illness, they don’t necessarily feel that they have to go to the Emergency Department.

 “Ultimately, this is about ensuring that those patients whose illness becomes so exacerbated receive the right level of care in the right place and at the right time, compared to other patients who, with the right level of support and education, feel more confident in managing their specific condition comfortably at home.”

For more information relating to Reducing Variation in Respiratory Care, please contact us here.

Frimley Health and Care