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E-cigs: How Did We Get Here AGAIN?

Posted on July 18, 2019   |   
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Guest blog by Mike Hess, RRT, RPFT

One of my all-time favorite TV shows is Battlestar Galactica. While I grew up with the campy, cheesy original with Lorne Greene shepherding the “rag-tag fugitive fleet” to a new home among the stars, I actually prefer the more recent 2005 reboot. This version took a much more grounded, realistic approach to storytelling and moral discussion. One of the recurring motifs of the show is the phrase, “This has all happened before, and it will happen again,” and ideas like resurrection, learning from history, and breaking cycles.

Unfortunately, this motif seems to have become all too real for anyone involved in the lung health community. I was recently at a meeting of one of our local Better Breathers groups to discuss the upcoming launch of a new Harmonicas for Health program, and the group facilitator had brought some prints of old cigarette ads. The messages on these ads ranged from the clinical (“20,679 Physicians Say “Luckies are less irritating!”) to the risqué (“Blow in her face, and she’ll follow you anywhere”), but a common theme is that certain cigarettes are awesome. They’re what the cool kids like Lucille Ball and Bob Hope are doing, and some of them can actually even be good for you. After all, if the typical smoker inhales 200 times per day, that’s “200 good reasons you’re better off smoking Philip Morris,” right? They’re proven mild! (**NOTE: Most of these ads are available at for citation and/or pictures, Hope/Ball ads are at**)

We know better these days, of course. We know that no cigarettes are healthy, no cigarettes work to improve asthma, bronchospasm, or anything else, and it wasn’t cigarettes that won World War II. We know that these statements are absurd and ridiculous. But we also know we’re seeing the same kinds of imagery and arguments being used right now to support electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS. These devices, more commonly known as vapes or e-cigarettes, are becoming nearly ubiquitous in modern society, much like smoking once was. And, again as in the case of their combustible ancestors, these devices are being sold as an indispensable accessory for an aspirational lifestyle.

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Tags: advertising e-cigarettes smoking

Device Technique: A Forgotten Factor in Therapy Adherence

Posted on April 05, 2019   |   
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Imagine if you will, you’re seeing one of your folks with COPD. Inpatient, outpatient, doesn’t really matter. You’ve seen Mr. or Mrs. X more often than you should have over the past few months. No matter what you do, they keep coming back to your office (or worse, heading to the emergency department) with uncontrollable shortness of breath. You ask them if they’re using their inhaled medications and they tell you, “Yes, of course.” You’ve heard that before, but a quick check of the counter seems in line with at least most of the expected doses. You’ve run through pretty much the whole gamut of meds in the desired class, so now what? There’s nothing left, right? Maybe this is just where they’re going to live from now on./p>

Or maybe not. Although many people have an idea of inhalers being easy-to-use medication delivery systems because that’s usually what they see on TV, anyone who has ever had to use one (or teach one) knows that’s simply not true. Inhaler technique is a learned skill, no different from driving a car or riding a bicycle (or typing a blog entry). Like many other skills, use of an inhaler is not necessarily mastered quickly or without practice; however, if we truly hope to be effective in helping our patients live their best lives, we must start taking more time to evaluate their technique and guide them toward mastery.

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Tags: action plan devices education inhalers
Categories: Promising Practices

Community-Acquired Pneumonia Causes Significant Burden for Vulnerable COPD Population

Posted on February 08, 2019   |   
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Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), which carries a high morbidity and economic burden worldwide, can be even more physically and economically devastating to individuals with COPD, according to a new study posted online in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation. The study was conducted by the COPD Foundation in collaboration with and funded by Pfizer Inc.

“Patient-Reported Consequences of Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease,” one of the first studies to include only COPD participants and individuals younger than 60, concluded that individuals with COPD suffering from CAP will miss an average of 21 days from work, be impaired from normal activities for more than 30 days and experience weeks of lingering symptoms.

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Tags: community-acquired pneumonia

Three Steps to Better Patient-Provider Communication

Posted on August 15, 2018   |   
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Patient and doctor

This post was written by Jane Martin, Assistant Director of Education at the COPD Foundation. Read more about what you can do to enhance the level of communication with your patients.

As a healthcare provider for individuals with COPD, you are well aware that many of these individuals have similar experiences related to their disease. However, the ways patients work with their healthcare providers and what they expect from them can vary greatly…

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Tags: best practices patient communication
Categories: Promising Practices

Unique Team Helps this COPD Readmissions Reduction Program Get Positive Outcomes

Posted on July 02, 2018   |   
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Plano COPD Group

This post was authored by Danny Pham, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, BCGP, Inpatient Care Transitions Pharmacist at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano. Read more about their successful COPD readmissions reduction efforts in this latest PRAXIS Nexus blog post.

Before we started our COPD program at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano, our readmission rate was similar to other institutions across the country. We knew there was more we could do to help our patients better understand their condition, be more engaged with controlling their respiratory symptoms, and take a proactive role in slowing the progression of their disease ...

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Tags: care coordination discharge inhaler use pharmacists Plano readmissions
Categories: Promising Practices

The COPD Health Buddy

Posted on June 12, 2018   |   
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COPD health buddy

For individuals with COPD, there is a lot of medical information to take in. Once they have that information, there is also lots to keep track of – medications, specific nutritional needs, safe exercise methods, level of activity, oxygen use if needed and more. As if this were not overwhelming enough, they must then sort through this information, process it and ask the right questions – vital questions in order to know what they need to manage their COPD and stay well.

You may have heard the old saying “Two heads are better than one.” This really does hold true, especially when it comes to optimizing health. And this is why it can help to have a “health buddy.”

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Tags: health buddy support
Categories: Resource of the Month

How the Patient Voice is Shaping the Conversation in Global Approaches to Health

Posted on May 29, 2018   |   
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Patients and patient-led organizations are becoming more active participants in discussions about how to address health challenges on a global level. By Bret Denning, COPD Foundation Grant Writer

On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, Pfizer hosted a luncheon briefing, Global Trends in Health Care, with an emphasis on the role patients and patient-led organizations can play in influencing policy. Moderated by Angela Wasussa, Vice President of Global Policy at Pfizer, the panel featured renowned experts from around the world.

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Tags: global health

The COPD National Action Plan and its Impact on Patients in Rural America

Posted on April 19, 2018   |   
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Rural physician

By Bret Denning, COPD Foundation Staff

Several COPD Foundation staff members recently attended a workshop on how the COPD National Action Plan can be used to advocate for better treatment options in rural America. Here is one analysis of the workshop and the common themes that emerged from the day.

On Monday, March 19, 2018, I attended a workshop at the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute (NHLBI), COPD & Rural Health: A Dialogue on the National Action Plan. It was a fascinating conversation on how the different components of the COPD National Action Plan can be transformed from theory into actual practice in rural America.

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Tags: rural health

A PRAXIS Case Study: Meg S.

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COPD case study

Read our latest PRAXIS Nexus case study! Today, we will learn more about Meg S., age 62.

Meg S. was referred to pulmonary rehabilitation following a visit with her primary care provider. Here is some of the information shared in the pulmonary rehab intake interview.

Past utilization: Meg has been seen in the ER x 3 over the last three months for extreme shortness of breath, rib pain and intractable cough, feeling as if she’s “choking on my phlegm.” On the second visit, she refused an overnight admission to acute care due to obligations at home. One week later, on her third visit, in addition to nebulizer treatments, low flow O2, and smoking cessation counseling, she was provided with an Acapella device for secretion mobilization.

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Tags: case study

National Institutes of Health Seeks Your Input for Research Priorities

Posted on February 09, 2018   |   
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Do you have a great research idea for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) wants to hear from you! COPD remains the country’s third leading chronic disease cause of death. Although COPD is a significant public health problem in the United States, awareness of COPD remains low at all levels and significant gaps in clinical care, research, and treatments still exist. To increase the Country’s investment in COPD research, we have to ensure that the patient, clinical and scientific communities come together to articulate the areas where research is most needed, what research holds the most immediate promise and the long-term vision for COPD research.

The All of Us Research Program is a part of the National Institutes of Health’s Precision Medicine Initiative, a large, multi-year effort that will lead to advances in how we determine what treatments are right for each individual and how their unique genetic and environmental factors play a role in disease development and treatment. All of Us has a goal of gathering data from at least a million volunteers nationwide and now they are seeking ideas for important data elements and research questions the program might address using this data.

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Tags: NIH research
Categories: Policy News

Rude2Respect: A Summit on Facing – and Challenging – Health Stigma

Posted on January 09, 2018   |   
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Last November, the COPD Foundation's Jane Martin had the honor of attending the first Rude2Respect Summit in Evanston, Illinois. The summit was a gathering of individuals representing more than 40 chronic health conditions or disabilities – disorders often confronted with the burden of health-related stigma. Read about her experience attending and reflecting on this important event.

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A COPD Case Study: Susan M.

Posted on December 05, 2017   |   
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COPD case study

Meet Susan M! Share your impressions in our latest COPD case study.

Summary of in-patient admission: Susan M. is being discharged today following a 6-day ICU and step-down admission for acute exacerbation of COPD with bacterial pneumonia requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation for a period of 32 hours. Subsequent to her extubation and transfer to the step down unit she was treated with oral antibiotics and Albuterol and Ipratropium nebulizer q 4 hrs. and prn at noc.

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Tags: case study
Categories: Promising Practices

“Breathe At Ease” Program Surpasses Goals for Readmission Prevention

Posted on December 01, 2017   |   
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At the recent annual conference of the American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) in Charleston, South Carolina, the COPD Foundation's Jane Martin met Robyn West, a representative of the Breathe at Ease program. She was impressed not only with the Breathe at Ease program outcomes but with Robyn’s enthusiasm. Over the following weeks Robyn and her colleagues talked with members of the COPD Foundation's Care Delivery Team about this exciting new COPD management program. Here is a summary of that conversation.

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Categories: Promising Practices

A COPD Case Study: Jim B.

Posted on September 21, 2017   |   
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Case study COPD

We're interested in your thoughts on our latest COPD case study: Jim B., a 68-year-old man here for his Phase II Pulmonary Rehabilitation intake interview.

A bit more about Jim:

Medical history: COPD, FEV1 six weeks ago was 38% of normal predicted, recent CXR shows flattened diaphragm with increased AP diameter, appendectomy age 34, broken nose and broken right arm as a child.

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Tags: case study pulmonary rehabilitation
Categories: Promising Practices

On the ROAD to better COPD outcomes

Posted on September 12, 2017   |   
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Dr. Samuel Louie

Samuel Louie, MD directs the UC Davis Asthma Network (UCAN) and the ROAD Center. ROAD (Reversible Obstructive Airway Diseases) includes COPD and the Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome. He currently serves as Director, Department of Respiratory Care at UC Davis Medical Center and is Medical Director for the California Society for Respiratory Care. His research interests include asthma, COPD, pulmonary rehabilitation and clinical outcomes in chronic disease management. From his personal philosophy of care: “Empathy is not an occupational hazard for me. The treatment of my patients’ diseases may be impersonal, but the education and care of every patient I have is completely personal. When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.” Read our conversation with him here!

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Tags: pulmonary rehabilitation treatment
Categories: Promising Practices

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