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Sharing the Learning, Sharing the Evidence
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40 patients participated in the pulmonary rehabilitation programme in Carmarthenshire and were recruited for a Better Breathing field trial and the project put a telehealth monitoring device in the homes of twenty, with the aim of supporting them in managing their health and reducing the need for emergency hospital admissions. These patients continued to receive their usual 'best practice' scheduled visits from members of a specialist nursing team. The remaining twenty patients formed a control group, getting their usual scheduled visits but no telehealth monitoring device. During December 2007, staff from the local authority's telecare team visited the patients in their homes to install and give training on the monitoring devices. Patients with the monitoring device were able to send measurements of oxygen saturation levels and body temperature to the nursing team every morning and evening. The nurses can then monitor their patients' conditions remotely and take any timely or preventative actions that may be thought necessary.
The project explored how telehealth technology can be used to detect changes in conditions at an earlier stage in order to reduce the impact of exacerbation on patients as well as on health care services. It may also provide some evidence on how home telehealth can support patients in maintaining the health benefits obtained from pulmonary rehabilitation, support earlier discharge for those patients in the study who have had the device installed in their home and who may have a hospital admission, improve levels of self-care and confidence in symptom monitoring and quality of life. Carmarthenshire wrote up a summary of the learning from the Better Breathing Project which was published in March 2010.
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