Patients Hospitalized for COPD Rarely Receive Pulmonary Rehab

Patient walking, physical rehab
Patient walking, physical rehab
Few individuals hospitalized for COPD receive pulmonary rehabilitation.

HealthDay News — Few patients hospitalized for chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) receive pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), according to a study published online Nov. 12 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Kerry A. Spitzer, Ph.D., from the Institute for Healthcare Delivery and Population Science at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Springfield, and colleagues examined receipt of PR after hospitalization for COPD during 2012. Data were included for 223,832 Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for COPD.

The researchers found that 1.9 and 2.7 percent of individuals hospitalized for COPD received PR within six and 12 months of their index hospitalization, respectively. 

Time from discharge to first PR session was a median of 95 days; rehabilitation of 16 sessions were completed. Prior home oxygen use was the strongest factor associated with initiating PR within six months (odds ratio, 1.49). The likelihood of receiving PR was reduced for individuals aged 75 to 84 years and 85 years and older (odds ratios, 0.71 and 0.25, respectively), those living more than 10 miles from a PR facility (odds ratio, 0.47), and those with lower socioeconomic status (odds ratio, 0.42).

In a separate patient survey released by the American Thoracic Society, 62 percent of 500 patients diagnosed with COPD, pulmonary hypertension, interstitial lung disease, or other chronic pulmonary disorders reported they had never heard of PR. Of the 38 percent of patients who reported having heard of PR, only 29 percent completed the program.

“In order to identify strategies to increase the receipt of PR and reduce disparities, more research is needed to understand the reasons that patients fail to receive PR and learn from hospitals that have been successful at enrolling COPD patients,” the authors write.

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