Specialist lung centres at regional hospitals support patients with respiratory disease living in the region, including those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the fifth most common cause of death in the UK.
A large hospital trust that hosts one such centre, is working with a community health provider on an integrated respiratory pathway. This new pathway aims to support and treat more patients in community settings rather than visiting hospital.
Referrals to the centre are assessed, and if appropriate, referred to the community provider nurses in the community. The community provider has also developed community-based resources and support for patients including oxygen assessment and pulmonary rehabilitation programmes.
We are evaluating the effectiveness of the integrated respiratory pathway in treating people in the community. We will compare what happens to patients in the area with the service to those in other areas. We will also look at how the hospital trust and community provider work together and support each other, which could provide an effective blueprint for other healthcare organisations to follow.
This research will inform policy both locally and nationally. We will work with commissioners at the local clinical commissioning groups to inform and shape future pathway development.