Apria Starts Home Ventilator Training and Monitoring Program to Reduce COPD Hospitalizations

Rachita Narsaria, MD avatar

by Rachita Narsaria, MD |

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Vaccination and COPD

Apria Healthcare has started a program to help COPD patients get the most out of mechanical ventilation by not only having respiratory therapists train them but also visit their homes to make sure they’re using it correctly.

The Apria Clinical Evidence, or ACE, program is aimed at improving the healthcare outcomes of those who are using a non-invasive positive pressure ventilation system. That system — NIPPV for short — delivers oxygen through a plastic face mask rather than an artificial airway.

ACE starts with personalized one-on-one training sessions with a respiratory therapist. Therapists will visit patients’ homes regularly to make sure they are sticking with the treatment plan and using the system as prescribed.

If necessary, a therapist can adjust the plan based on a patient’s respiratory health.

At each visit, the therapist will record the patient’s responses to a number of quality of life questions, and monitor their progress. Therapists will also maintain a record of a patient’s unplanned hospital admissions and emergency room visits.

“Through the ACE program, we have seen tremendous success in reducing hospital admissions when comparing the six months prior to initiating therapy with the six months post-therapy, particularly for patients diagnosed with COPD,” Dan Starck, CEO of Apria Healthcare, said in a press release.

“As a national leader in home healthcare, Apria is uniquely positioned to help these patients reduce hospital admissions by providing them with the tools and support they need for success,” he added.

Results of the ACE program have been similar to those reported in a study titled “Retrospective Assessment of Home Ventilation to Reduce Rehospitalization in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease” in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Researchers conducted it at a University of Arizona facility in Tucson known as the Arizona Respiratory Center and Department of Medicine. The 2014 study covered 397 COPD patients who had had two or more hospitalizations the preceding year.

Under a quality improvement program, the patients were receiving NIPPV each night from a respiratory therapist, ongoing therapist care, medication, and adequate oxygen.

The results were startling. The proportion of patients who had to be readmitted to a hospital two or more times in a year fell from 100 percent before they started on the therapist-led program to 2.2 percent — just nine out of 397 patients.

Based on the results, researchers suggested a treatment program whose elements include nighttime NIPPV, care led by respiratory therapists, medication, appropriate oxygen, and patient education.  The combination could lead to a significant reduction in re-hospitalizations, the team said.

Apria is offering the ACE program across the United States. Additional information is available on the company’s website.