New study finds interdisciplinary model of care improves quality of life in COPD sufferers

Monash University researchers have trialled a new model of care for people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that could improve their quality of life considerably.

Researchers Doctor Johnson George and Jenifer Liang from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences collaborated with Monash University researchers from the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, the Department of General Practice and researchers from La Trobe University, Bond University, University of Melbourne, University of Newcastle and the University of New South Wales on a study to investigate a new primary care-based model of care for Australians over the age of 40.



The four-year-long study sought to determine whether a multi-pronged intervention would improve the quality of life of people living with COPD. Interventions included smoking cessation support, home-based pulmonary rehabilitation and in home medication reviews. The study was conducted in over 40 general practices in Australia.

Of the 31% in the intervention group, close to half of the sample who completed all rehabilitative activities noted a statistically and clinically significant improvement in their quality of life, measured on a widely used questionnaire.  

Investigator Jenifer Liang says that the interdisciplinary model of care (known as Review of Airway Dysfunction and Interdisciplinary Community-based care of Adult Long-term Smokers, or “RADICALS”) highlights the importance of collaboration between general practitioners and allied health professionals.

‘While this study saw a limited uptake, the findings still demonstrate that when departments and disciplines work together, we can see great potential for more rounded models of care for patients,” Ms Liang said.  

“The RADICALS care model taps into the breadth of resources that pharmacists, physiotherapists, nurses and doctors have to offer. This provides us with a template for future studies to implement for patients, specifically those who may not be mobile or have limited access to lifesaving health care.”

“It is researchers like Dr George and Dr Liang whose passion and dedication is providing hope for a brighter future,” Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke said.

“We are committed to meaningful and sustainable research collaborations that can deliver timely outcomes. Outcomes which make a difference to those people impacted by lung disease. Lung Foundation Australia will continue to invest in our research program to support the real heroes of this story – the researchers. It is through their invaluable work, we can ensure better outcomes for those to come.”

Lung Foundation Australia has a suite of resources available for both health professionals and consumers to support in the management of lung conditions such as COPD. For more information, visit lungfoundation.com.au.

The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and has been cofunded by the Lung Foundation, Boehringer Ingelheim and the Eastern Melbourne PHN.

Contact: Divya

Phone: 0466910111

Email: divya.krishnan@monash.edu