Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a leading cause of death and disease burden1. Data show that almost one in seven Australians over 40 is affected by COPD2. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data show that COPD is the second cause of avoidable hospital admissions3.
Self-management programs for COPD, and in particular, pulmonary rehabilitation, have been shown to reduce hospital admissions and improve quality of life4. Australian research shows a 46% reduction of patients admitted to hospital with COPD exacerbation and a 62% reduction total bed days following pulmonary rehabilitation5.
Currently, there is a significant shortfall of community-based maintenance programs. The benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation can decline over a 6-12 month period on cessation of a supervised pulmonary program, unless an active maintenance exercise program is available in the community6. In order to address this lack of available community-based exercise programs suitable for those with chronic lung disease, Lung Foundation Australia has developed Lungs in Action.
What is Lungs in Action?Lungs in Action is a safe, enjoyable, low cost exercise maintenance program in the community for people who have completed a pulmonary rehabilitation program. The program is now extended to include people with stable New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class II and NYHA Class III heart failure who have completed heart failure rehabilitation.
The aim of Lungs in Action is to extend the benefits of rehabilitation by providing a safe environment in which those with stable chronic disease can maintain physical and social activities.
How was the content developed for the Lungs in Action program?Development of Lungs in Action training materials and content was undertaken in consultation with respiratory physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and personal trainers in Cairns, Gold Coast, Sydney and Brisbane. The heart failure module content was developed in consultation with a heart failure specialist cardiologists, heart failure rehabilitation specialist physiotherapists and nurses, cardiac rehabilitation physiotherapists and accredited exercise physiologists.
Delivery of the program was initially PILOTED in Cairns and the Gold Coast with the program continually being REFINED through feedback from participants, a steering committee, an expert advisory panel and external reviewers.
The Lungs in Action program continues to be evaluated with data collection occurring at several locations over the next 12-24 months. The data that is being collected is quality of life (St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire), exercise capacity (six minute walk tests), client experience (surveys), instructor feedback (interviews), monitoring of participant exacerbations and hospital admissions and general awareness of benefits of exercise.
1. AIHW. Chronic Diseases Mortality. Found at: http://aihw.gov.au/cdarf/data_pages/mortality/index.cfm
2. Toelle B, Xuan W, Bird T, Abramson M, Burton D, Hunter M, Johns D, Maguire G, Wood-Baker R, Marks G. COPD in the Australian burden of lung disease (BOLD) study. Respirology 2011;16 (Suppl 1):12
3. Page A, Ambrose S, Glover J et al. Atlas of Avoidable Hospitalizations in Australian: ambulatory care-sensitive conditions. Adelaide PHIDU. University of Adelaide. 2007
4. David K McKensie, Michael Abramson, Alan J Crockett, Nicholas Glasgow, Sue Jenkins, Christine McDonald, Richard Wood-Baker, Peter A Frith. The COPD-X Plan: Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for the management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 2007. The Australian Lung Foundation.
5. Cecins N, Geelhoed E, Jenkins S. Reduction in hospitalization following pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with COPD, Australian Health Review, August 2008 Vol 32 No 3 415-422
6. Cockram J, Cecins N, Jenkins S. Maintaining exercise capacity and quality of life following pulmonary rehabilitation. Respirology (2006) 11, 98-104