Bayhealth’s Respiratory Therapy Team Combats COPD Through Community Partnerships

April 23, 2024

The Bayhealth respiratory therapy team recently launched a multidisciplinary committee focused on decreasing readmissions and length of stay for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—a disease that restricts airflow and causes difficulty breathing. In addition to refining inpatient workflows, the team is focused on establishing relationships with community partners to offer resources and education to patients and community members.

Bayhealth’s partnership with the Delaware (DE) Quitline, a Healthy Delaware initiative, directly combats cigarette smoking which is the leading cause of COPD. The DE Quitline provides community members access to free coaching and smoking cessation products to help them on their journey to quitting. In addition to promoting the service to patients who smoke, Bayhealth and the DE Quitline are combining resources to implement a direct referral system that will prompt a call from a DE Quitline coach to patients who can benefit from the service.

Most recently Bayhealth has partnered with the Southern Delaware COPD Coalition (SDCC) to meet patients where they are in their fight against COPD. The cornerstone of the relationship is a process through which discharged COPD patients who meet specific criteria are referred to SDCC for a home or virtual visit from a respiratory therapist. The therapists work to develop a trusting relationship with the patients and assist throughout all aspects of disease management including identifying and addressing any physical, mental, emotional, or cultural needs.

To date, both collaborations have helped reduce COPD hospital readmission rates from 20.1% to 15.5% over nine months, exceeding the goal of 17%.

“One of Bayhealth’s strategic initiatives is expanding our community connections. With this goal in mind our COPD Committee set out to develop partnerships that would help patients where they’re most comfortable which is in their homes,” said Director of Respiratory Therapy & Sleep Services Brian Duvak, MBA, BS-RRT. “Our relationships with the DE Quitline, SDCC and other organizations like them are yielding tremendous results for our COPD readmission rates and the quality of care being offered in outpatient settings. We are grateful for the contributions of these organizations, and we look forward to making even greater strides in the future.”

Future plans for the Bayhealth respiratory team and COPD Committee are to build partnerships focused on behavioral health as it relates to COPD and smoking as well as to educate community members and clinicians on how smoking reduces the effectiveness of mental health drugs. All in all, their goal is to sustain readmissions at 15.5% or less and continue educating the community on ways to avoid and combat the disease.

Call the DE Quitline today at 1-866-409-1858 or visit to get started on the journey to quitting tobacco and all other nicotine products for good.

Bayhealth also offers outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation services in Dover and Milford for patients who have been treated for COPD or other chronic respiratory conditions. Call Bayhealth Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at 302-744-7455 to learn how to get started with an individualized plan to strengthen lung function, reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Image Caption: SDCC Founder and Executive Director Sara Tibbett-Wright, DBA, MSM-HCA, RRT, Bayhealth Director of Respiratory Therapy & Sleep Services Brian Duvak, MBA, BS-RRT, Bayhealth Respiratory Therapy Navigator Elizabeth Hurley, RRT, AE-C, DE Quitline Health Provider Outreach Coordinator Romie Lutz

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