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Case Management Protocol for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

The breathing system of the human body is the most important aspect for healthy leaving. The breathing system functions well if the lungs execute their sole function of regulating inflow and out flow of air in the entire body. However, complications in the lungs would lead to the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and, hence, compromising of the breathing system. The management protocol for this disease is multi-dimensional and, therefore, requires a detailed implementation plan. The protocol should cater for both infected and unaffected since the ultimate goal would be to eliminate the disease. Phase 1 is the most important because it determines the subsequent planning and implementation of phase 2 and 3. COPD is a disease brought about by numerous factors, either artificial or natural. Identifying the already infected and their relative stage of infection is as well crucial in the treatment and rehabilitation process. The global initiative for chronic obstructive lung disease examines various risk factors potentially causing the disease. These factors include smoking, occupational exposure, contaminated air, and genetics. Tobacco smoking is the highest cause of this disease (Rabe, Hurd, Anzueto, 2007). Rabe et al (2007), further examines the acute symptoms in the identification of the already infected patients, which include change of breathing sounds, enlargement of the chest, and persistent shortness in breath.

In the second phase, there is the development of adoptable strategies to reduce the risk factors identified in the first phase. Smoking cessation involves the decision by the smoker to stop smoking willingly or can involve the use of drugs to replace the nicotine (Nathell, Malmberg, Larsson, 2007). The use of preventive masks reduces the amount of polluted air inhaled either at the work place or else out door. It is important to note that these preventive and curative measures adoptable in the disease management should be cost effective. Selecting a cost effective strategy will guarantee sustainability of the management protocol in future. This is because if the cost of preventing or treating COPD is extremely high, most of the stakeholders will be reluctant and, therefore, shy away from the whole process. It is as well important to consider both direct and indirect costs involved and then compare with the expected benefits. It is this fact that makes the second phase equally important because not all strategies identified become viable.

The third phase forms the actual implementation of the whole management protocol. It involves the identification and incorporation of all the relevant stakeholders in the health sector. Total incorporation of the available stakeholders is not easy, as it requires them to buy-in the whole idea of COPD management protocol. Some stakeholders would be best in rehabilitation, whereas others would be best in prevention. This is the starting point towards realizing the interest of stakeholders. For instance, it would be difficult to sell the idea of prevention to stakeholders specialized in treatment. Subsequently, the idea of treatment cannot attract stakeholders interested in prevention and awareness creation. Therefore, it is extremely important to sample the stakeholders and share the relevant prevention or treatment strategies. This will as well make it simple for the stakeholders to put on the required structures and qualified personnel in the program.

In order to attract more stakeholders, it is crucial to share the least cost strategies, but with reasonable and substantial outcomes. This is because every stakeholder wishes to start a sustainable program, and, in this case, the one that will be not expensive to execute. The required interventions from the stakeholders should not be demanding in terms of capital investments and personnel because they may not be ready to purchase anything outside what they currently use.

The expected outcomes of the interventions are as well part of the attracting factor to the key stakeholders. A section of stakeholders would rather invest huge amounts of money into an intervention with better outcomes, than low cost interventions with little or no impact to the community. The second phase of the management protocol examines the expected outcomes prior to the invitation of the stakeholders in the third stage. The analysis of the outcomes is two dimensional in the sense that intervention is either preventive or curative. For the prevention, stakeholders expect that after a considerable period, there will be greater awareness about the risk factors causing the disease. This will match low infection rate and subsequently reduced death rates. Smoking would be reduced by a great percentage, as this is the main cause of COPD.

On the other hand, successive treatment of the infected will realize a reduced prevalence of the disease. Stakeholders expect improved health condition of the infected and, hence, reduced death toll. Treatment will reduce the genetic inheritance of the disease with more patients accessing the required drugs. The indirect outcome expected would be the increased economic productivity from the patients recovering.