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Written by: Vester Gravley on Thursday, August 20, 2015 Posted in:

The willing, led by the unknowing, doing the impossible

Reduce COPD admissions. Bwah ha ha ha…Yeah, RIGHT! No disrespect, but for those of us who have ever been at the bedside of the exacerbated emphysema patient clinging for breath and life barely able to suck enough bronchodilator down to find even temporary relief, the idea may seem rather laughable, even preposterous.
A Medical News Today article from November 2014 notes that “research has shown that patients are often readmitted for reasons beyond the control of hospitals.” Dr. Michael Sjoding, a pulmonary and critical care fellow in the U-M Medical School’s Department of Internal Medicine, went on to explain in the same article, “If patients can’t afford medications, or have unstable housing situations, they may end up being readmitted to the hospital. No interventions to date have effectively and sustainably reduced COPD readmissions, so it’s unclear what a hospital can do to prevent them.”
Regardless, the CMS mandate requires that time, effort, intelligence and resources be exerted in the post-discharge arena that address the ongoing clinical, financial and psychosocial challenges to effective care of the COPD patient. Interventions that move beyond phone line follow-up initiatives and into the patient’s home life, family and social networks serve as support structures to do the impossible: keep COPD patients from returning to the hospital 30 days at a time. Some may regard it as an exercise resembling the willing being led by the unknowing, doing the impossible. In the midst of the madness it may be of little comfort that Napoleon Bonaparte once said; “Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.”

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