Multi-disciplinary community respiratory team management of patients with chronic respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Chronic Respiratory Disease
The Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS Trust Community Respiratory Response Team was established to manage patients with chronic respiratory disease at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team aimed to avert hospital admission while maximally utilising remote consultations. This observational study analysed outcomes of the triage pathway used, use of remote consultations, hospital admissions and mortality among patients managed by the team. Patients' electronic health records were retrospectively reviewed. Rates of emergency department attendance, hospital admission and death within 28 days of referral were compared across triage pathways. Segmented linear regression was carried out for emergency admissions in Greater Glasgow and Clyde pre- and post- Community Respiratory Response Team implementation, using emergency admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the rest of Scotland as control and adjusting for all-cause emergency admissions. The triage category correlated with hospital admission and death. The red pathway had the highest proportion attending the emergency department (21%), significantly higher than the amber and green pathways (p = 0.03 and p = 0.004, respectively). The highest number of deaths were in the blue "end-of-life" pathway (p < 0.001). 87% of interactions were undertaken remotely. Triage severity appropriately led to targeted home visits. No nosocomial COVID-19 infections occurred among patients or staff. The Community Respiratory Response Team was associated with a significant decrease in emergency admissions (RR = 0.96 for each additional month under the Poisson model) compared to the counterfactual if the service had not been in place, suggesting a benefit in reducing secondary care pressures. The Community Respiratory Response Team effectively managed patients with chronic respiratory disease in the community, with an associated reduction in secondary care pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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