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Enhancements to Comprehensive Respiratory Care Program

News ReleasesLabrador-Grenfell
Posted: July 2, 2024

Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Health Services is announcing enhancements to the Comprehensive Respiratory Care (CRC) program, which includes increased access to virtual care options for those living in rural areas of the province, as well as the addition of Pulmonary Rehabilitation services and home-based care for patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

“The CRC program takes an innovative, strategic approach to promoting lung health.  The program is evidence-based and aligns closely with several key principles of the NL Health Accord,” says Ashley Ryan, division manager of innovation. “By bridging acute and community-based care, CRC provides patients with tools to better self-manage their disease, prevent hospital admissions and emergency room visits, and enhance their quality of life”.

The CRC team consists of health-care professionals who work to their full scope of practice in the community setting, including respiratory therapists (RTs), a physiotherapist (PT) and clerical support.  The program is overseen by the division manager and a respirologist who serves as the medical director. The program has several key components:

  1. INSPIRED COPD Outreach Program ™ – Focuses on patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) with a recent history of an emergency room visit or hospitalization for their respiratory disease. This strategy has demonstrated a marked reduction in hospital admissions and emergency room visits.
  2. Comprehensive Respiratory Education Clinic – Offers respiratory assessments and diagnostic testing for those with asthma, COPD, Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD).
  3. Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) assists with improving physical activity and reducing shortness of breath for those with chronic respiratory disease. This strategy is evidence-based, and has been shown to improve health outcomes for this population.
  4. The CRC team has partnered with the Neurology division in the Eastern Urban Zone to provide home-based care for patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Patients with chronic respiratory symptoms are supported with a variety of techniques and equipment to improve their quality of life at home.

“This program has been in operation since 2019, with significant growth over the past two years,” says Dr. Gokul Vidyasankar, respirologist and medical director of the CRC program. “It is now offered in the Eastern, Central, and Labrador-Grenfell Zones of NL Health Services.  By focusing on the fundamentals, our vision is to change the future of lung health in our province.”

Last month, the CRC team successfully facilitated the first virtual visit in Labrador Grenfell Zone at the Nain Community Clinic, in collaboration with the local health-care team. The CRC Program has not only benefited clients in the zone but has provided increased educational opportunities for staff in the zone to work with members of the CRC team.

“Our dedicated team has worked hard over the past five years and has adapted to provide patients access to quality care regardless of their location,” says Ashley. “We have shown that we can replicate this model of care across the entire province, empowering patients to better manage their lung health.”

To access the CRC program, a referral is required from the patient’s primary health care provider.


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