History of the program

In the 1990’s, while services to asthmatic patients were becoming more structured and education and management tools were being introduced, health professionals dealing with the chronic and complex nature of COPD still lacked this kind of organization.

Noticing this, a team of professionals from the Montreal Chest Institute of the McGill University Health Centre under the leadership of Jean Bourbeau and Diane Nault, a respirologist and a specialized respiratory nurse, initiated in 1996 steps to develop, evaluate and implement a self-management program specific to COPD: Living Well with COPD. This program was to ensure optimal management of COPD, continuity of care, development of a global care approach focusing on patients and their family, standardization of care in specialized clinics as well as first line service.

The program Living Well with COPD evolved from an extensive review of the scientific literature in COPD, experts’ opinion across Québec, and patient focus groups. The initial draft was tested in a pilot project with 16 patients and 5 health professionals. A team of researchers and respirologists, supported by the Respiratory Health Network of the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) and Boehringer Ingelheim Canada, developed a research study, a multicentre randomized clinical trial aiming to evaluate the program.

The results of this study were very encouraging: the program was shown to have a positive impact on patient’s health, by improving their quality of life and having a tremendous reduction in the frequency of hospitalizations and emergency room visits. As a result, the 1st edition of Living well with COPD was made available in 1998.

The Living Well with COPD program has been approved by the health ministry of Québec and implemented in all the regions of the province by the Agence de développement de réseaux locaux de services de santé et de services sociaux (ADRLSSSS), emphasizing services in the community. Most of the health professionals in Québec use this evidence-based program to promote self-management in their COPD patients.