A new educational program has been launched by NPS MedicineWise to support nurses and other health professionals with patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The updated information recognises that COPD can be a complex and challenging condition for health professionals to diagnose and manage, and focuses on diagnosis of COPD and assessment of severity – including the role of spirometry; stepwise pharmacological management of COPD; and inhaler technique and adherence.

“Providing the best pharmacological treatments for COPD – in order to optimise patients’ symptom control and quality of life – relies on accurate diagnosis and assessing the severity of the disease,” NPS MedicineWise medical adviser Dr Andrew Boyden said.

Spirometry is critically important as part of the clinical assessment in order to accurately diagnose COPD and assess its severity, however it remain under-utilised.

The program also addresses a range of newer treatment options, with a plethora of new inhalers for the treatment of COPD released into the Australian market in recent years.

“Because of the recent influx of newer COPD medicines and devices, it can be challenging for health professionals to remain up-to-date with developments. This new program, which is based on the Lung Foundation COPD-X guidelines stepwise approach, aims to help GPs understand the range of treatment options now available,” Dr Boyden said.

The program will also highlight the importance of correct inhaler technique and matching the patient with a suitable inhaler device.

“Inhaler technique and adherence are also a focus because studies suggest that many patients don’t use their devices correctly or are not taking their COPD medications as prescribed leading to sub-optimal management of their condition,” Dr Boyden said.

The NPS MedicineWise COPD educational program includes:

·         One-on-one educational visits for GPs or small group case-based meetings (for up to 10 health professionals) with an NPS MedicineWise clinical services specialist. Register your interest now

·  An online case study (for GPs, pharmacists and nurses)

· Articles in health professional publications such as MedicineWise News, Pharmacy Practice Review, Pharmacist Update and Health News and Evidence

To find out more go to www.nps.org.au/copd