Adelaide: To support World COPD Day, Asthma Australia is today celebrating a leading healthcare project which is improving pathways to how doctors and pharmacists treat people with asthma and/or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Asthma Australia General Manager for Programs, Jo Williams, said the Asthma Australia ‘Adelaide Respiratory Health Project’ healthcare model is showing positive preliminary results and could be a promising blueprint beyond treating asthma and COPD.

The project has come about following a needs assessment by the Adelaide Primary Health Network for a program which would tackle the high prevalence of asthma and COPD in two geographical locations, The City of Playford and The City of Onkaparinga.

In response, four local medical practices and twelve local pharmacies signed up to partake in an integrated healthcare project designed by Asthma Australia titled the ‘Adelaide Respiratory Health Project’.

“Through our work we are discovering that most health practitioners and pharmacists work in isolation.  There are varying levels of capacity to identify or deliver best practice asthma and COPD care,” Ms Williams said.

“This means patients with asthma or COPD may slip through the cracks and not receive the comprehensive support they need to stay well and out of hospital.

“Our project is working to build a strong pathway of cross-clinical collaboration and capacity between GPs and pharmacists.”

“People with asthma and COPD are being captured at either the pharmacy or the general practice, and then are supported by the treating health professionals. They receive consistent advice and resources and get the in-depth medical advice they need to understand and manage their condition,” she said.

The Asthma Australia Adelaide Respiratory Health Project’ has been operating for more than 12 months.  The project will conclude in April 2019 and project outcomes will be made available once final assessments have been made.

Around 1 in 7 Australians aged 40 years and over have some form of COPD and approximately half of the people living with COPD symptoms do not know they have the condition. Approximately 20% of these people also have asthma, which must be treated separately.

The ‘Adelaide Respiratory Health Project’ ultimately aims to reduce hospitalisations for COPD and asthma in the Adelaide Primary Health Network region.  Adelaide PHN has funded Asthma Australia, in partnership with Lung Foundation Australia to undertake the ‘Adelaide Respiratory Health Project’.

For more information people can contact the free 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) service to speak to an Asthma Educator, or visit www.asthma.org.au.

About COPD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term for a group of progressive lung conditions including:
• Emphysema
• Chronic bronchitis
• Chronic asthma.

The condition causes narrowing of the bronchial tubes in the lungs (sometimes called bronchi or airways) and this makes it difficult to breathe. COPD is a common lung condition affecting both men and women. Around 1 in 7 Australians aged 40 years and over have some form of COPD however around half of the people living with COPD symptoms do not know they have the condition. Indigenous Australians are 2.5 times more likely to have COPD than non-Indigenous Australians. COPD is not a contagious disease however we do know that it is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions in Australia.

Around 20% of people with COPD also have asthma, which is described as asthma-COPD overlap (also called asthma-COPD overlap syndrome, or ACOS). Asthma- COPD overlap is not a disease on its own and may have several different causes. People with asthma-COPD overlap need different treatment from people with just asthma or COPD alone.

World COPD Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in collaboration with health care professionals and COPD patient groups throughout the world. Its aim is to raise awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and improve COPD care throughout the world.  For more information visit: https://goldcopd.org/world-copd-day/