Home Health Better lung disease screening for people with addictions

Better lung disease screening for people with addictions

10 July 2017

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Researchers from King’s have helped to develop a COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) ‘checklist’, to enable addictions key workers to assess the lung health of service users and screen for lung disease.

The list was designed for use in the King’s Health Partners Lung Health Clinic, launched to address the need for lung disease screening in community drug and alcohol services. Smoking-related respiratory disease is a major contributor to excess mortality for people with addictions.

Designed by Dr Caroline Jolley, Senior Lecturer in Human Physiology at King’s and Respiratory Medicine Lead for King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Dr Michael Kelleher, Addictions lead at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the checklist asks about cough, smoking status (of tobacco, heroin, crack or cannabis) and previous attempts to quit.

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Between February 2015 and October 2016, 112 patients attended the service.

Out of the 112 attendees, 81% currently smoked cigarettes, 11% were former cigarette smokers, 41% had previously attempted to stop smoking and 51% had not (8% had never smoked so had no reason to access smoking cessation).

Of the total, 20% had clinically significant breathlessness, 62% had a chronic cough, but only 5% had previously been given a diagnosis of COPD. 36% were subsequently diagnosed with COPD following assessment in the clinic.

Raising awareness of COPD 

By increasing the recognition and documentation of the signs and symptoms of respiratory problems, the scheme hopes to raise awareness of COPD and its connection with smoking.

The work represents research from two King’s Health Partners’ Clinical Academic Groups: Addictions and Allergy, Respiratory, Critical Care, Anaesthetics and Pain. This case study features in Innovation Impact Stories, a collection of examples of how King’s Health Partners is improving patient care.

The project was also recently used in a Public Health England case study to highlight the benefits of collaboration between addictions and respiratory clinical staff.

King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering collaboration between King’s, Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts. For more information, visit http://www.kingshealthpartners.org.

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