Blog by Tim Alderdice, Director of Business Development, GrandView Pharmacy

Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disorder is a major cause of chronic morbidity and mortality in the elderly. According to the CDC, COPD affects over 15 million adults in the USA and is the third leading cause of death. COPD is characterized by persistent airflow limitation that is usually progressive and associated with an enhanced chronic inflammatory response to the presence of noxious particles or gases in the airways or lungs.

While inhaled cigarette smoke is the most common cause of COPD. Other environmental pollutants such as smoke from fuel, occupational dusts and chemicals can contribute to the chronic inflammation associated with COPD. This chronic inflammation can lead to tissue destruction within the airways resulting in emphysema or disrupt normal repair and defense mechanisms resulting in small airway fibrosis. These pathological changes lead to air trapping and progressive airflow limitation, which result in the characteristic symptoms of COPD.

COPD symptoms include dyspnea, chronic cough and sputum production. Clinical diagnosis can be made when a patient presents with these symptoms with a history of exposure to risk factors. Along with exposure to pollutants, risk factors include age, gender, socioeconomic factors and a history of respiratory infections.

People who go to a skilled nursing facility after being hospitalized for COPD are about twice as likely to die within a year. The probability of death within 180 days was nearly 43% for COPD patients discharged to a SNF, versus roughly 16% for those who were sent home. These numbers were 46.5% and 24%, respectively, at a year after hospital discharge. Obviously, those discharged to skilled nursing facilities had more acute and advanced cases of COPD. However, the data suggests that patients in skilled settings need more aggressive intervention, therapy and treatment to improve clinical outcomes.

GrandView Pharmacy has created a protocol for its customers to implement to assist in the management of COPD and its consultants are well-equipped to assist. Contact us to find out how.

Sources:

1. COPD patients discharged to a skilled nursing facility are twice as likely to die within a year. ( 2014, Nov 6). Retrieved from McKnights Long Term Care Summary: https://www.mcknights.com/news/copd-patients-discharged-to-a-skilled-nursing-facility-are-twice-as-likely-to-die-within-a-year/article/381654/

2. Safel, D. (n.d.). Managig Elderly Patients with COPD. Retrieved from Todays Geriatric Medicine: http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/031912p8.shtml

About the Author

Click here to learn more about Tim and the rest of the GrandView team.

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