WA Primary Health Alliance, Joondalup Health Campus and Silver Chain partner to help people with lung disease

Respiratory physician Dr Hari Adoni, Sue Lee (WAPHA), Elisabeth Johns (Joondalup Health Campus), patient Veronica Tucker, Louise Papps (Silver Chain) and Kirsty Tilden (Silver Chain). Picture: Martin Kennealey.
Respiratory physician Dr Hari Adoni, Sue Lee (WAPHA), Elisabeth Johns (Joondalup Health Campus), patient Veronica Tucker, Louise Papps (Silver Chain) and Kirsty Tilden (Silver Chain). Picture: Martin Kennealey.

THREE health organisations have partnered to help people with long-term lung disease stay well and out of hospitals.

The partnership between WA Primary Health Alliance, Joondalup Health Campus and Silver Chain aims to improve the lives of people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD is an umbrella term for diseases that prevent effective breathing, which is one of the highest causes of potentially preventable hospitalisations in WA.

The alliance has worked with Silver Chain to employ a COPD health coordinator at the hospital to help people living with the diseases to transition from hospital to primary care.

Alliance general manager Linda Richardson said rates of respiratory system disease were relatively high in the northern suburbs and the gaps identified in post-hospital management could be contributing to hospital re-admission rates.

“The COPD health coordinator position has been designed to link patients to primary care services after they have been discharged from hospital and work closely with them on managing their condition at home,” she said.

“The coordinator will also facilitate education events to upskill GPs, so they can better support people living with COPD in the community.”

JHC physiotherapist and project coordinator Elisabeth Johns said the person in the role would advocate for the person living with COPD in the community and ensure they did all the things they need to do to stay well and out of hospital.

“When people with these conditions go home, they may not self-manage their condition well or attend appointments,” she said.

“This in turn leads to them becoming acutely unwell and re-presenting to the emergency department.”

Silver Chain clinical operations director Tish Morrison said the model of care put greater emphasis on care co-ordination.

“The COPD nurse coordinator will work closely with both the JHC team and the patient to ensure they are appropriately linked with primary care services and have the education they need to self-manage their condition,” she said.

The Australian Government provided funding under the Primary Health Networks Program.