Home care organizations are boosting outcomes and reducing readmissions by creating programs targeted toward specific conditions, such as COPD.

One hospital-owned home care organization, Blessing Home Care, has even reported cutting its COPD readmission rate by 50% in one month.

The biggest component of the COPD program at another agency—VNA Healthtrends—is patient education, Teresa Fitzgerald, executive director of product development, tells Home Health Care News.

VNA Healthtrends is a Chicago-based home health agency that currently has operations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Arizona.

COPD patients do not always know or understand the root cause for their condition, or for associated flare-ups, according to Fitzgerald. Perhaps a specific household product is triggering an outbreak, but the patient continues to use it, resulting in hospital visits. Once the product or ingredient is identified, though, certain health scares—and hospital readmissions—can be avoided.

VNA Healthtrends also makes sure to evaluate a COPD patient’s level of health literacy as part of the program. The COPD patients in the agency’s care may have all of the necessary equipment to help manage their condition, but they are using it incorrectly, unbeknownst to themselves and to VNA Healthtrends. The agency’s staff members work to ensure their patients know how to use equipment and medication properly and effectively.

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