Factors influencing the implementation and uptake of a discharge care bundle for patients with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a qualitative focus group study

Abstract Background Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common causes of mortality and morbidity in high-income countries. In addition to the high costs of initial hospitalization, COPD patients frequently return to the emergency department (ED) and are readmitted to hospital within 30 days of discharge. A COPD acute care discharge care bundle focused on optimizing care for patients with an acute exacerbation of COPD has been shown to reduce ED revisits and hospital readmissions. The aim of this study was to explore and understand factors influencing implementation and uptake of COPD discharge care bundle items in acute care facilities from the perspective of health care providers and patients. Methods Qualitative methodology was adopted. Nine focus groups were conducted using a semi-structured guide: seven with acute and primary/community health care providers and two with patients/family members. Focus groups were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and coded and analyzed using a thematic approach. Results Forty-six health care providers and 14 patients/family members participated in the focus groups. Health care providers and patients identified four factors that can challenge the implementation of COPD discharge care bundles: process of care complexities, human capacity in care settings, communication and engagement, and attitudes and perceptions towards change. Both health care providers and patients recognized process of care complexity as the most important determinant of the COPD discharge bundle uptake. Processes of care complexity include patient activities in seeking and receiving care, as well as practitioner activities in making a diagnosis and recommending or implementing treatment. Important issues linked to human capacity in care settings included time constraints, high patient volume, and limited staffing. Communication during transitions in care across settings and patient engagement were also broadly discussed. Other important issues were linked to patients’, providers’, and system attitudes towards change and level of involvement in COPD discharge bundle implementation. Conclusions Complexities in the process of care were perceived as the most important determinant of COPD discharge bundle implementation. Early engagement of health providers and patients in the uptake of COPD discharge bundle items as well as clear communication between acute and post-acute settings can contribute positively to bundle uptake and implementation success.
Implementation Science Communications. 2020 Feb 25;1(1):3