Respiratory Specialists Team Up To Earn COPD Re-Accreditation

April 2, 2018

A group of Renown employees have continued the progress they’ve shown a national organization four years ago when it comes to care for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients. Renown’s Respiratory Care Services recently was accredited for another two years by the Joint Commission for its superior lung care.

Like many other chronic diseases, COPD has its own set of conditions to treat, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking is the main cause of COPD, and the damage to lungs from it is irreversible, but with the right treatment plans a patient can have a better quality of life.

“Our main purpose is to have the patients take care of themselves the best way possible once they are diagnosed,” said Kathleen Milbauer, a Respiratory Specialist and the COPD Coordinator for Renown Health. “Our goal is to prevent them from going back to the hospital, and to prevent flare-ups of the symptoms.”

During its work to re-accredit Renown, The Joint Commission’s surveyors look at every aspect of the COPD program. “They pick it apart from when the patient enters the hospital to when they go home,” said Jessica Pollard, one of Renown’s Respiratory Specialists. “There are certain metrics that we have to fulfill and it’s a lot of work to keep this accreditation. We started it four years ago and we had to get all of our ducks in a row to even submit for this, to get a look at the program from the Joint Commission.”


A Team Approach

That early hard work – and the constant maintenance of the program – has led to an amazing program for these patients. Renown’s COPD program is one of less than 12 in the country to be accredited by the Joint Commission, said Randy Loo, Manager of Respiratory Care Services. “We’re one of six programs on the West Coast,” added Sandy Ollivier, Respiratory Specialist.

It also takes a team beyond Respiratory Care. The specialists spoken to – including Gretchen Lehmann and Jessica Pollard – said that support from Nurse Navigation, Providers, Care Coordination and Pharmacy are the key to a successful COPD program. And, the program is truly Renown-wide, with coordinators at Renown South Meadows and Renown Rehabilitation Hospital covering every possible patient scenario.

The program also includes smoking cessation classes to help COPD patients end their reliance on cigarettes. In addition, a series of outpatient COPD classes teach the techniques patients need to keep their COPD in check and lead a better life with the chronic illness.


Constantly Prepped

The Renown Respiratory Specialists agree that the program itself is fulfilling. “Our patients are extremely grateful for the time and the energy that we are spending with them,” said Pollard. “It really is gratifying. We get to know them on such a personal level.”

The specialists also agreed that receiving the recognition has also been gratifying. They had to assemble everything with just two-weeks notice, but they pointed out that consistent documentation and prep in the everyday care world helped make it happen.

“Everything went very smoothly,” said Ollivier. “I think if we had two to three more weeks, we could have shined even more, but we did what we needed to do, and do every day.”

“The surveyor made the comment that our hospital should be a role model for other hospitals,” said Pollard. “When other hospitals want to get a COPD program up and going, the Joint Commission gives them our number. That was really nice to hear.”