A new study that has just been published in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation suggests that there is a need to improve the way COPD patients are evaluated for appropriate supplemental oxygen prescriptions prior to being discharged from the hospital. The Documentation and evaluation of Oxygen Requirements In COPD (DORIC) study found that “[i]n this two-center study of 335 patients hospitalized with COPD, the majority had gaps in the evaluation and documentation of oxygen prescriptions prior to discharge. Only 1 in 5 underwent an evaluation and fewer than 1 in 5 had adequate documentation of supplemental O2 requirements at rest and with activity prior to hospital discharge.”
The authors of the DORIC study argue that the findings that 80% of hospitalized COPD patients lack adequate documentation of supplemental oxygen requirements “”suggests that most patients discharged to home on supplemental O2 also do not receive adequate safety-related instructions, such as avoiding smoking or being near an open flame while using O2.20,21 These considerations highlight an important oportunity to improve care, and potentially safety, in patients recently hospitalized with COPD”.
While the findings of the DORIC study are a cause for concern and highlight opporutnities to improve the transition of care from hospital to home for COPD patients, the authors caution that this was a two-center study and may or may not be generalizable to other clinical settings. “Further research is required to determine if our findings generalize to other settings and to assess the effectiveness of strategies that promote an evaluation and documentation of supplemental O2 requirements at rest and with activity prior to hospital discharge on patient safety, including avoidable readmissions.”
Read the latest issue of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation here