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New Program at The Pines of Mt. Lebanon Helps Seniors Cope with COPD

By Vanessa Orr


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases to effect people over age 60. A progressive disease, it is caused by damage to the lungs over many years, often from smoking or environmental conditions, which makes it difficult for people with COPD to breathe. As a result, many people who suffer from COPD end up in the hospital time and time again.

The Pines of Mt. Lebanon, which provides Senior Living and Memory Care programs, is taking a proactive approach to identifying residents with COPD and helping them learn more about the disease process and how it can be managed. The Pines’ new COPD Transition Program partners with multiple health care providers to develop a specific care plan for each program member that is vital to managing his or her disease. These partnerships are based on the unique concept that a person can benefit greatly from a home at The Pines that provides medical, educational, therapeutic and psychological treatment specific to each COPD resident.

The Pines also offers a Respite-To-Home Program for COPD Transition Program members. “A resident in our Respite-To-Home Program receives the medical and educational components that will help them to manage their symptoms, increase endurance and properly use any equipment that they may require at home,” explained Joy Paglia, director of Sales and Marketing. “Before they leave, we assess their homes to make sure that they are returning to a safe environment.” The Pines’ staff also coordinates home health providers to ensure that COPD patients have access to all of the care that they need after returning home.
In addition to helping program members learn more about the disease, The Pines also trains its staff on the special care needs of their COPD residents. Staff has received, and will continue to receive, training on how to care for the multiple physical, mental and emotional needs that may accompany a COPD resident.

Working with St. Clair Hospital and HCR ManorCare skilled nursing facilities, The Pines is also tracking COPD patients once they return home to see if they are readmitted to the hospital. After a person returns home, they are contacted by phone twice weekly for the first 30 days, and then on a quarterly basis after that. “Our goal with this program is to prevent readmits, which are very hard on the elderly,” said Paglia.
If needed, patients can also be provided with counseling for smoking cessation or anxiety, and a COPD support group, Better Breathers, has been set up at The Pines to provide ongoing education to residents and the community as a whole.

For more information on the COPD Transition Program at The Pines of Mt. Lebanon, call (412) 341-4400 or visit www.integracare.com.

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