Program offers education, support for pulmonary disease patients

Oxygen tanks and cannulaUIC researchers are developing an education and support program to help patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, improve their use of supplemental oxygen.

The project, led by Jerry Krishnan, professor of pulmonary care and associate vice president of health affairs at UI Health, is funded by a three-year, $2 million contract from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

“Using O2 can prolong life and increase quality of life, but patients often do not use their oxygen as prescribed, which means that they are not benefiting as much as they could be from this therapy,” Krishnan said.

Doctors often prescribe supplemental oxygen for patients with COPD, but studies show compliance is poor. Reasons cited by patients include lack of information about the benefits, embarrassment about using an oxygen tank in public and fear of becoming “addicted” to oxygen.

Researchers will meet with groups of patients with COPD who use oxygen, and their caregivers, to develop information that trained peer-coaches can give over the phone.

The intervention is known as Peer-Led O2 Infoline for Patients and Caregivers, or PELICAN.

Krishnan said PELICAN could increase use of supplemental oxygen among COPD patients and improve their overall health.

The researchers will compare the effectiveness of PELICAN delivered proactively (peer-coaches will call patients) or reactively (patients can call the coaches themselves), or for patients receiving only written self-help materials.

“The peer coaches will help patients improve their self-management skills, and can answer questions and provide support for using supplemental oxygen,” Krishnan said. “The long-term goal is to help patients use their oxygen as prescribed so they can be as healthy as possible.”

Collaborating institutions and organizations include the COPD Foundation, AlphaNet Foundation, National Jewish Health, UCLA-Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and Apria Healthcare.


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Patient Care, Research, UI Hospital