Home care by outreach nursing for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • Wong C
  • Carson K
  • Smith B
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BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by progressive airflow obstruction, worsening exercise performance and deterioration in health. It is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and costs to health care systems. Care strategies, such as outreach nursing in the community, may reduce this burden. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness of outreach respiratory health care worker programmes for patients with COPD in terms of improving lung function, exercise tolerance and health related quality of life (HRQL) of patient and carer, and reducing mortality and hospital service utilisation. SEARCH STRATEGY: A search was carried out using the Cochrane Airways Group database. Bibliographies of identified RCTs were searched for additional relevant RCTs. Authors of identified RCTS were contacted for other published and unpublished studies. SELECTION CRITERIA: Only randomised control trials of patients with COPD were included. The intervention was an outreach nurse visiting patients in their homes, providing support, education, monitoring patient status and providing liaison with physicians. Interventions that used nurse practitioners who provided therapeutic intervention were also included. Studies in which the therapeutic intervention under test was physical training were not included. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Data extraction and study quality assessment were performed independently by two reviewers. Where further or missing data was required, authors of studies were contacted. MAIN RESULTS: Four studies were found. Three assessed mortality following twelve months of care (n=96, 152 and 301), and one after seven months(n=75). Meta-analysis demonstrated that mortality was not significantly reduced by the intervention, Peto Odds Ratio 0.72; 95 % confidence interval 0.43, 1.21. Post hoc subgroup analysis suggested that mortality was reduced by the outreach nursing programme in patients with less severe disease. Significant improvements in health related quality of life were reported in one study in moderate COPD, but not in a study in patients with severe disease. No changes in lung function or exercise performance were found in the studies where data were available. Hospital admissions were reported in only one study in patients with severe disease and no benefit was observed. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: Patients with moderate COPD may have mortality and health related quality of life gains from a nursing outreach programme, but there are no data about reductions in hospital utilisation. Patients with severe COPD do not appear to have benefit from such programmes and one large study found no reduction in hospital admissions in such patients.




Wong, C. X., Carson, K. V., & Smith, B. J. (2012). Home care by outreach nursing for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd000994.pub3

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