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We thank Dr Abdulqawi for interest in our work (1). He comments that the referral, uptake and completion rates for pulmonary rehabilitation in the current study were lower than in a previous study by Jones and colleagues (2). We would caution against retrospective comparison with unmatched historical controls due to confounding factors such as differences in patient characteristics and practice pathways that may contribute to inaccurate point estimates.
We hypothesised that the COPD discharge bundle would impact on referral rates. Strengths of the current work include the prospective real-world nature of the study, with the research team having no involvement in treatment allocation. The clinical team delivering the bundle were blinded to the study objectives, thus minimising any Hawthorne effect.
Dr Abdulqawi raises the point that pulmonary rehabilitation completion rates were low in the current study (albeit based on a low denominator). The reasons for non-completion of PR are often complex and multi-factorial (3) and may not be directly related to referral source. However, what is clear is that without a referral for pulmonary rehabilitation, uptake and completion rates are zero.
1. Barker RE BL, Maddocks M, Nolan CM, Patel S, Walsh JA, Polgar O, Wenneberg J, Kon SSC, Wedzicha JA, Man WDC, Farquhar M. Integrating Home-Based Exercise Training with a Hospital at Home Service for Patients Hospitalised with Acute Exacerbations of COPD: Developing the M...
1. Barker RE BL, Maddocks M, Nolan CM, Patel S, Walsh JA, Polgar O, Wenneberg J, Kon SSC, Wedzicha JA, Man WDC, Farquhar M. Integrating Home-Based Exercise Training with a Hospital at Home Service for Patients Hospitalised with Acute Exacerbations of COPD: Developing the Model Using Accelerated Experience-Based Co-Design. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2021;16:1035-49.
2. Jones SE, Green SA, Clark AL, Dickson MJ, Nolan AM, Moloney C, et al. Pulmonary rehabilitation following hospitalisation for acute exacerbation of COPD: Referrals, uptake and adherence. Thorax. 2014;69(2):181-2.
3. Jones SE, Barker RE, Nolan CM, Patel S, Maddocks M, Man WD. Pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. J Thorac Dis. 2018;1(1):S1390-S9.
We have read the paper by Barker et al. (1) with interest. We congratulate the authors for conducting and publishing their prospective cohort study evaluating the effect of COPD discharge bundle on pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) referral and uptake following hospitalisation for acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD).
The authors have shown that the COPD discharge bundle had a positive effect on PR referral compared with a no bundle (17.5% (40 of 228) referral rate vs 0%(0 of 63)). This figure is lower than the expected 30% referral rate to PR following AECOPD (2). However, the paper offers no potential reasons for the lower referral rate.
The study had two bundle groups:
• COPD discharge bundle delivered by a current PR practitioner
• COPD discharge bundle delivered by a practitioner with no involvement in PR
Compared to delivery by a practitioner with no PR involvement, completion of the bundle delivery by a current PR practitioner resulted in higher referral and pick-up rates (60% vs 12% and 40% vs 32%, respectively). These results support the concept of integrating PR and hospital services.
Unfortunately, the completion rate (number of subjects who completed PR divided by the number of referrals) was disappointingly low. Also, there was no difference between the two bundle groups (13% (2 of 15) vs 12% (3 of 25)), as stated in the supplementary data.
It seems that patients' willingness or ability to complete PR is not af...
It seems that patients' willingness or ability to complete PR is not affected by the referral source, i.e. whether the referral was received by a practitioner involved in PR or not. A previous publication has demonstrated a 47% completion rate for PR referrals following AECOPD, with a 72% completion rate for those who started the programme (2).
We are curious whether the authors have explored the potential reasons for the lower completion rate in their study. Causes could include dissatisfaction with the provided programme, a patient’s anxiety, and lack of perceived benefit from PR participation.
1. Barker RE, Kon SS, Clarke SF, et alCOPD discharge bundle and pulmonary rehabilitation referral and uptake following hospitalisation for acute exacerbation of COPDThorax Published Online First: 02 March 2021. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2020-215464
2. Jones SE, Green SA, Clark AL, et alPulmonary rehabilitation following hospitalisation for acute exacerbation of COPD: referrals, uptake and adherenceThorax 2014;69:181-182.