Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHS has accelerated the use of remote respiratory reviews. Patients still require regular treatment to help them to manage their long-term conditions such as COPD, and regular reviews provide an opportunity for healthcare professionals to assess their patients’ current control of the condition and assess if any changes need to be made to their management plans.
NICE has produced a COVID-19 rapid guideline for the community-based care of patients with COPD, in which they reference the need to ensure a patient’s COPD is as stable as possible, and that their self-management plan should be kept up to date1. Therefore, whether a review is happening face to face or remotely, you may still need to change a patient’s treatment – whether pharmacological or non-pharmacological.
A change in medication may come with a change in inhaler device. Whether this change resulted from a face to face or remote COPD review, the patient will require support in getting adjusted to and comfortable with using their new inhaler effectively. Therefore, we have compiled some useful resources for you to use with patients, so they feel fully supported and confident in this change.
What resources are available to support patients to change inhalers?
In person demonstrations are a useful teaching medium, however the patient may wish to have instructional videos on hand, and that’s where video demonstrations come in. Even if you have shown the patient how to correctly use their inhaler, offering them access to how-to videos which they may view in their own time may further build their confidence as they can refer to these multiple times.
Asthma UK and The UK Inhaler Group have easy-to-follow videos which are readily available for patients to access. In these short videos, they demonstrate how to use a range of different inhaler devices.
For each device type, there is a roughly 3-minute-long video demonstration. Each video is also accompanied by a transcript, increasing accessibility to the content.
Whilst these videos are on the Asthma UK website, the inhaler technique tutorials in these videos are equally relevant for your patients with COPD as well.
2) Greater Manchester Inhaler Technique Improvement Project
Similar to Asthma UK, there are a series of inhaler technique videos available on the Wessex Academic Health Science Network, which are part of the Greater Manchester Inhaler Technique Improvement Project.
These videos are short (on average 2-3 mins) and show a healthcare professional demonstrating the correct way to use some of the inhalers which may be prescribed for patients with respiratory conditions.
Consider asking your patients to download the free Right Breathe app. On this app, they can easily search for the medicine which they have been prescribed, and they will find training videos to support them in using their new inhaler correctly.
They are also able to use the Right Breathe app to get notifications about when they should be using their inhaler, so they take their medication regularly as required.
4) myCOPD App
The myCOPD app can be downloaded by your patients to provide further support to your patient beyond their remote review.
Watch the video by Scott Sutton of Interface Clinical Services to understand how your patients might benefit from downloading the myCOPD app.
Video from our Best Practice in Remote Consultations webinar
There are several useful resources to support your patients who have had their inhalers changed during remote reviews. Certain resources might be more useful than others for some of your patients. By pointing your patient in the direction of the resources which are most relevant for them, you can hopefully feel confident that your patient will be able to correctly use their new device and experience the full benefit of their medication.
1. NICE Guideline NG168: COVID-19 rapid guideline: community-based care of patients
with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Accessible at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng168