Left -Donna Toothaker, NSES' RN, and Judy Orvis, RN and Salem State University Master's in Nursing Program student.

Mindful Health: Are you Using your Inhalers Correctly?

North Shore Elder Services (NSES) is offering an exciting patient education opportunity for those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and a range of other pulmonary diseases. We recently joined forces with Boston based technology company, Patient Discovery.  Through the Clara & Harvey Pillsbury Foundation, Inc., NSES received a grant, which is helping us serve our seniors of Danvers with this endeavor.

Using the Patient Discovery hands-on learning platform, NSES will be educating COPD patients on proper inhaler use. This interactive module has been put together as an app that can be accessed securely through a tablet, smartphone or PC.  The goal of this project is to;

  • Improve adherence to inhalers (assess knowledge & provide education on inhaler use)
  • Extend pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Prevent hospital readmissions
  • Assess effectiveness of teaching tool in home

Currently Patient Discovery is using the module in hospitals but the plan now is to bring it to the community. The cost of medication non-adherence is enormous.  Over 10% of hospitalizations are attributable to this non-adherence.

North Shore Elder Services is fortunate in having a Registered Nurse who is currently enrolled in Salem State University’s Master’s in Nursing program taking the lead on this Mindful Health project. Judy Orvis is passionate about this internship with NSES and passionate about geriatric care.  Along with her graduate studies, Judy is a RN in Cardio-Thoracic at Lahey Hospital.

Judy will be reaching out to emergency rooms, physicians and other practitioners for referrals. She will also be holding clinics at the Council of Aging in Danvers and the local housing sites.  At this time, the concentration is on Danvers residents.

Judy will meet with patients in their home or other place of convenience. The module takes about twenty minutes to complete.  It is broken down into short, easy to understand learning exercises in which the patient is an active participant.

Thirty days after completion of the initial assessment, Judy will follow up with the patient to reassess their comprehension of proper inhaler use.

The project is currently available to Danvers Residents. To determine if someone is a candidate for participation, a referral can be made to Donna Toothaker (RN) at dtoothaker@nselder.org or by calling Donna at 978-750-4540 by February 9.

This Mindful Health project is a valuable individualized patient education opportunity for those using inhalers that NSES is pleased to be able to offer. Thanks to the Pillsbury Foundation for making it possible.

Author Info

Jayne Girodat

Jayne Girodat is the Communications Specialist at North Shore Elder Services. Along with ten years in the position of Caregiver Support Specialist at another ASAP, Jayne was a long-distance caregiver to parents for the same amount of time. That experience serves as motivation to better understand the issues of aging and to engage people in conversations about those issues. Jayne's background in teaching contributes to her appreciation of social media as a tool to educate readers on aging concerns. "I love asking people questions. Everyone likes to be heard. When you ask and then listen, you'll find everyone has a story and some of those stories are gems. I think it is particularly important to hear the voices of our older adults. Those are the stories I really connect to and hope to bring to North Shore Elder Services' audience."

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