According to the results of a recent Audit of COPD Care in Europe, half of all patients admitted with COPD in Ireland are either dead (8%) or re-admittted to hospital (41%) within 90 days.
The study into COPD care in 422 hospitals in 13 countries across Europe, including 11 Irish centres, also showed that hospital length of stay in Ireland is high particularly for females with a median of 9 days compared to the European median of 7 days.
Commenting on the study, Dr Edward McKone, President of the Irish Thoracic Society (ITS) said:
‘Clearly there are areas of COPD care that need improvement but we are encouraged by the progress being made by the National COPD Programme, particularly the COPD Outreach Strategy, currently being implemented. This promises to provide patients with the care they need in a community setting, improving the length and quality of their lives while keeping them out of hospital. However, given the scale of COPD in Ireland, the burden it places on the health system and, most importantly, the suffering experienced by COPD patients, it is imperative that this strategy is implemented in full without delay.
It is estimated that over 400,000 people in Ireland have COPD and it is the reason for over 100,000 bed days per year in Irish hospitals. As is the case for all lung diseases, Irish death rates for COPD are amongst the highest in Europe and our ageing population means that prevalence of COPD is set to increase. COPD is an umbrella term for a number of chronic lung disorders including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is a progressive, disabling disease that has a major impact on the lives of patients and their families and on the health care system.