The scheme used specially trained patient volunteers, who had attended a COPD rehabilitation programme, to work closely with new patients on the scheme, offering encouragement, advice and support.
Pamela Hancock, COPD clinical coordinator of North East Lincolnshire PCT, highlighted the importance of the buddy scheme in improving care. She identified that the programme has resulted in an improvement in the physical and emotional well-being of the 31 people who completed the course.
The group members’ mobility improved dramatically in endurance shuffle walking tests with average walking times increasing from three to 23 minutes. Hospital admissions fell from 24 to one day and A&E attendances from 35 to two visits. Patients also demonstrated a significant improvement in their quality of life.
The scheme was developed with patient groups in line with NICE guidance on COPD (NICE clinical guideline 16).