Holy Cross Health and COPD Foundation Establish Respiratory Navigator and Peer Coach Partnership for People with COPD and Related Lung Conditions

January 21, 2021

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Holy Cross Health and the COPD Foundation are pleased to announce the establishment of the Respiratory Navigator and Peer Coach Partnership. Funded by Mr. Herb Yardley, the partnership will launch a pilot program designed for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and related lung conditions who are hospitalized for exacerbations (flare ups). The program aims to assist patients in the post-acute phase and support their self-management at home.

COPD is a debilitating respiratory condition affecting more than 30 million Americans and 1 million individuals living in Florida. COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the US and a leading cause of disability. Although COPD is mostly a preventable and manageable chronic condition, low public awareness of the condition and its symptoms often leaves those newly diagnosed unsure how to best manage their care.

Recognizing these challenges, the collaboration between the COPD Foundation and Holy Cross Health has been built to leverage both partners’ resources and strengths. The COPD Foundation focuses on empowering and engaging the COPD community by delivering hope and valuable educational resources to individuals with COPD and their families, so they can take positive steps to lead meaningful and productive lives. The existing Holy Cross Health COPD Navigator program has reduced readmission rates for individuals with COPD by almost 50% by using a dedicated team of health care professional “navigators” who follow each patient through their recovery journey.

The new Respiratory Navigator and Peer Coaching Partnership program will extend crucial personalized care to people living with COPD. Located at the new Catherine Yardley Pulmonary Center of Excellence, patients will receive evaluations and be paired with registered respiratory therapists who will serve as health navigators to guide them through care and follow-up post-discharge. The COPD Foundation will provide educational resources as well as their COPD360Coach platform that will connect patients with trained peer (patient and caregiver) coaches.

This unique care management solution enables these peer health coaches to efficiently manage and communicate with patients. Peer health coaching is clinically proven to improve patient engagement and self-management by empowering individuals to take control of their own condition. While prohibited from giving medical advice, the peer health coach is a valuable member of the patient’s care team, driving positive health outcomes by enhancing patient engagement, providing encouragement and support, reducing unnecessary utilization of care, and urging the patient to seek immediate care before an exacerbation can take hold.

Additionally, participants will have access to the Foundation’s COPD360social online international patient and caregiver community and Harmonicas for Health™, a program that uses harmonicas and music to mimic proven techniques to help manage shortness of breath.

During the pilot phase, the program goals are to increase participation, maintain Holy Cross’s successfully reduced COPD readmission rate, improve patient adherence to pulmonary rehabilitation, increase participant satisfaction, as well as improve the efficiency and ease the workload of the Holy Cross care team.

"We are honored to partner with the COPD Foundation," says Helen Visco, RRT, COPD Navigator at Holy Cross Health. "We are confident that this partnership will enhance the patient care experience by combining our expertise with the extraordinary resources of the COPD Foundation. Our goal is to not only provide our patients with pulmonary care excellence but, in addition, to further promote wellness, self-care, and better quality of life."

"The overall purpose of this unique partnership is to provide the people impacted by COPD and related lung conditions with comprehensive supports, helping them maintain hope and improve their daily lives," says Kristen Willard, VP of Public and Professional Education in the COPD Foundation. "Our focus over the years on the patient and caregiver perspectives through research, education, and advocacy helps us design systems of care from prevention to maintenance that meet the particular needs of those impacted by this disease."

About COPD Foundation
The COPD Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization created in 2004, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Miami, FL. The COPD Foundation was established to speed innovations which will make treatment more effective and affordable, undertake initiatives that result in expanded services for COPD patients, and improve the lives of patients with COPD and related disorders (through scientific research, education & awareness) that will lead to prevention and a stop in the progression of COPD.

About Holy Cross Health
A member of Trinity Health, Fort Lauderdale-based Holy Cross Hospital, dba Holy Cross Health, is a full-service, non-profit, Catholic, teaching hospital operating in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy. Holy Cross has been named one of the top 10 hospitals in the Miami metro area and among the top 30 in the state in U.S. News and World Report's 2020-2021 Best Hospital rankings. Through strategic collaborations and a commitment to being a person-centered, transforming, healing presence, the 557-bed hospital offers progressive inpatient, outpatient and community outreach services and clinical research trials to serve as our community’s trusted health partner for life. Holy Cross Health also encompasses Holy Cross HealthPlex outpatient facility, urgent care centers and more than 50 Holy Cross Medical Group physician practices. To learn more about Holy Cross Health, visit holy-cross.com. Connect @holycrossfl.

For media inquiries please reach out to Susan Williams at susanwilliams@copdfoundation.org