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Swindon launches telehealth monitoring for COPD patients

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Swindon NHS PCT has mainstreamed its use of telehealth solutions, to provide more timely and preventative care and support for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The Telehealth service gives greater independence and improves the quality of life for COPD patients, enabling them to receive enhanced care in their own home and reducing the need for repeat hospital admissions. Swindon PCT is using telehealth monitors from telehealthcare specialist Tunstall to monitor the health and well-being of people with COPD. The machines help patients to spot problems early on, which can then be dealt with before a person reaches the stage of hospital admission. As a result a patient could potentially avoid a serious decline in health and the stress of visiting hospital. This in turn reduces unnecessary pressure on primary and acute care providers and ensures best use of healthcare resources. The decision to mainstream the PCT’s use of telehealth follows a successful pilot in 2007, which improved patients’ quality of life and reduced hospital admissions for patients with COPD by increasing their ability to self-manage the condition. Jan Tretheway, Deputy Director of Service Development & Acute Services, commented: “Patients report that the Telehealth service has helped them develop a better understanding of their condition, and how to manage it more effectively on a day-to-day basis. As a result, patients are being admitted to hospital less often, require less input from community nurses and therapy teams and have more freedom to enjoy life.” The monitors have helped to significantly improve the model of care for COPD patients in Swindon. Clinical staff have round-the-clock access to accurate information about the patient’s conditions ensuring more preventative care and reducing the need for hospital admissions. Stephen Durant, Telehealth Project Manager at Swindon PCT said: “As a result of telehealth monitoring, patients have experienced a reduction in anxiety due to daily monitoring and have also felt more engaged with clinical staff. This also makes them feel less isolated, which has had a positive effect on their mental well-being and control of their condition.” Matthew Marshall, Director of Health at Tunstall said: “COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK and represents a high proportion of health and social care expenditure, costing the NHS

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