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Airwaves Clinical Update
June 2018
National Strategic Action Plan for Lung Disease

Lung disease affects one in four Australians1 and is the second leading cause of death2, yet it struggles to receive the publicity, funding and support required to reduce its impact.


Lung Foundation Australia, together with the support of the Australian Government Department of Health, is working to change the future of lung disease in Australia by developing the first National Strategic Action Plan for Lung Disease.


This national plan will define the priorities and actions required to improve lung health and reduce the impact of lung disease on individuals, the community and the economy.


1 AIHW, 2016, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australiashealth-2016/contents/chapter-3-leading-causes-of-ill-health
2 Lung Disease in Australia, 2014, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research


   Find out more   

Australian lung transplants leading the world

Thirty-two years after the first successful lung transplant on home soil, Australian transplant teams perform around 200 adult lung transplants annually. The average survival of lung transplant recipients in Australia is about seven years, above the global average of five years, according to Dr Miranda Paraskeva, a lung transplant physician at the Alfred Hospital. “Long term survival has continued to improve; current reported survival of bilateral lung transplant recipients at 1, 3 and 5 years (after surgery) is 90%, 74% and 68%, respectively, which exceeds international survival rates of 82%, 69% and 59%, respectively,” the authors of a Narrative Review published in the Medical Journal of Australia wrote.


Read more.

Evidence-based COPD-X Guidelines updated

The COPD-X Plan: Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for the Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD-X) have recently been updated. This includes a recommendation to repeat spirometry to confirm COPD if results are around the FEV1/FVC threshold. It also now features the benefits of LAMAs over LABAs on exacerbation rates and exacerbation-related hospitalisations and management of dysphasia in COPD patients; and discussion that antibiotic treatment is guideline concordant in <15% of cases.


View guidelines.

High demand for flu vaccines

A number of recent surveys have found that only between 44% and 50% of Australian adults intended to be vaccinated against the flu this year. The demand however has been strong – to the point where the record numbers of vaccines imported this year have not been enough.



Improving management of people with COPD

Lung Foundation Australia and the Murray Primary Health Network (PHN) have partnered to deliver a multifaceted project aimed at improving management of people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in the Murray PHN region, including:

  1. A region-wide education program to support health professionals to provide best-practice care for people with COPD
  2. A home-based pulmonary rehabilitation pilot to improve access to pulmonary rehabilitation in the City of Greater Bendigo
  3. A software solution to improve the accessibility of the COPD Action Plan template.

   Find out more or register for education   

Leading respiratory bodies welcome doubled funding for lung function tests

Asthma Australia and Lung Foundation Australia welcome the increase in funding for lung function testing handed down in the recent federal budget. The use of objective lung function tests, known as spirometry, to diagnose asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is imperative to ensure that people with these lung conditions are swiftly diagnosed and appropriately treated, and to avoid misdiagnosis. 


Read more.

Encourage your patients to live well with their lung condition

Lung Foundation Australia has recently introduced a new tool to help reduce the impact of symptoms, such as breathlessness, on daily activities for your patients. Many people find using a battery operated fan can help control breathlessness, and research has shown that a cool draft of air from a hand-held fan can be very effective.


We have sourced an appropriate hand-held fan, in line with the research, to help reduce symptoms. These fans are now available via our online shop. Funds raised from fan purchases will go towards our Respiratory Nurse Telephone Service campaign.


Buy fans, here.

Join our Lung Cancer Nurses Forum Steering Committee

The Australia and New Zealand - Lung Cancer Nurses Forum (ANZ-LCNF) is calling for expressions of interest from nurses to join the Steering Committee which provides guidance on the strategic direction of the ANZ-LCNF. Nurses who either have a vast interest in, or who work/care for patients with lung cancer and/or mesothelioma, or within a Multi-Disciplinary Team are encouraged to apply. 


Find out more and apply.

Closing date extended for international travel grants

Applications close 29 June for the Lung Foundation Australia and A/Menarini Australia Pty Ltd international travel grants. There are two grants, valued at up to $3,000 each, to attend the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Paris this September. The grants are open to key health professionals and researchers in Australia whose work is focused on improving outcomes for patients living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to attend the conference.


Applications are also being accepted until 9 July for two travel grants for the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology Congress in Taipei from 29 November – 2 December, 2018.


   Find out more or apply   

PiKo-6 COPD screening devices on sale

In Australia, there are over 400,000 people that have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) but don’t have a confirmed diagnosis. Identifying these people early means they can be managed well with health outcomes being significantly improved. By using a COPD screening device, such as a Piko-6, those at risk of COPD can be identified and avoid unnecessary spirometry in those with normal lung function.

PiKo-6 products are on sale until 30 June. Please note device numbers are extremely limited so order yours here today.

Lung Foundation Australia also has a number of resources to assist you in the diagnosis and management of your patients with COPD. Find out more here.

Cardiovascular risk in bronchiectasis patients

The Centre for Inflammation and Tissue Repair at University College London (UCL) recently conducted a study, Correlates and assessment of excess cardiovascular risk in bronchiectasis, published in the European Respiratory Journal. The study aimed to identify factors related to elevated cardiovascular risk in bronchiectasis, using indicators such as aortic stiffness, inflammation and cardiac biomarkers. It found patients with bronchiectasis have greater cardiovascular risk than published reference populations, which appears to be associated with exacerbation frequency and impaired lung function. The researchers emphasised that cardiovascular risk assessment in patients with bronchiectasis should be individualised, as current calculation tools are likely to underestimate the risk in this population.


Read more.

MRFF releases new grant opportunity

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Clinical Trials provides grants of financial assistance to support health and medical research and innovation. This competitive grant opportunity will provide support for publicly funded clinical trials that address areas of health burden and unmet need, such as rare cancers and rare diseases. Applications to this grant opportunity must propose a clinical trial that addresses an ‘unmet medical need’ by improving the health outcomes for members of the Australian community living with serious health conditions whose diagnosis or treatment is not adequately addressed by existing options. The total amount available for this grant is $33 million and submissions are due by 1 August 2018.


   Find out more   

You can help to prevent COPD exacerbations

Have the CHAT with your patients this winter

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) exacerbations are the second leading cause of preventable hospitalisations in Australia1. Research shows that your patients with COPD are more likely to have an exacerbation (flare-up of symptoms) during the winter months.

Have the CHAT is Lung Foundation Australia’s COPD exacerbation campaign equipping you with the tools and resources to keep your patients well and out of hospital during winter. We encourage you to complete the Have the CHAT checklist for each patient with COPD. 

1National Health Performance Authority 2015, Healthy Communities: Potentially preventable hospitalisations in 2013–14


   Complete checklist   

My Health Record

Every Australian will have a record setup for them by the end of this year, unless they choose not to have one. The opt out period runs from July 16 – October 15, 2018, with a wide-reaching awareness campaign to inform consumers beginning in mid-July.

General practices and pharmacies across Australia are being trained in utilising My Health Record medical software, with the focus now turning to assisting allied health professionals and specialists.

My Health Record provides potentially lifesaving access to a patient’s key health information such as medications, allergies, conditions and test results. This will support significant improvements in the safety, quality and efficiency of Australia’s healthcare system.


   More information   


Exercise in lung cancer care

The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) recently launched a position statement, Exercise in Cancer Care, at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. It is the first position statement worldwide to call for exercise to be an essential component of cancer treatment.

The position statement calls for:

  • Exercise to be embedded as part of standard practice in cancer care and to be viewed as an adjunct therapy that helps counteract the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment
  • All members of the multidisciplinary cancer team to promote physical activity and recommend people with cancer adhere to exercise guidelines
  • Best-practice cancer care to include referral to an accredited exercise physiologist and/or physiotherapist with experience in cancer care.


Read more, here.

Upcoming webinars

Pulmonary Fibrosis webinars

Living with a rare lung disease can be challenging and at times isolating for your patients. In collaboration with Centre of Research Excellence in Pulmonary Fibrosis, Lung Foundation Australia hosted the first of two free online webinars, Life with current Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) medications: the benefits and side effects. The webinar, featuring expert speakers, aims to support people impacted by IPF. Watch the webinar here.

Upcoming webinar: Exercise and Pulmonary Fibrosis

Date: September – date to be confirmed.

To register, call our Information and Support Line on freecall 1800 654 301 or find out more here.


Pulmonary Hypertension webinars

We recently hosted the first of three Pulmonary Hypertension webinars, Managing Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), which featured information, support and tips to live well with Pulmonary Hypertension. Watch the webinar here.


Upcoming webinar: Exercise in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Date: Wednesday 8 August

Time: 7pm – 8pm AEST

To register, call our Information and Support Line on freecall 1800 654 301 or find out more here.

Queen's birthday award

A huge congratulations to Professor Christine McDonald, Chair of Lung Foundation Australia’s COPD Coordinating Committee, on being named as a Member in the General Division (AM). Christine was recognised for significant service to respiratory and sleep medicine as a clinician-researcher, administrator, and mentor, as well as to professional medical organisations.


Collaboration works to reduce COPD hospitalisations

A recent collaboration with the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network (NBMPHN) and local General Practices worked to improve Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) management within general practice to reduce the number of COPD-related emergency presentations and hospitalisations. Fourteen General Practices took part and almost 600 patients were diagnosed with COPD during the collaboration.

Lung Foundation Australia provided support via the Expert Reference Panel, best-practice resources, education workshops, online training and awareness activities.

The outcomes highlighted ideas for change and tracking data for improvement such as: 

  • Developing a lung function checklist to identify undiagnosed patients and the diagnosis and management of COPD patients
  • Encourage pneumococcal vaccination via a clinic for patients with COPD
  • Upskilling of practice nurses with training in spirometry and inhaler device technique
  • Reviewing of patient inhaler device technique
  • Encouraging people with COPD to attend local patient support groups.


If you are interested in receiving support from us for similar initiatives or bespoke training, please contact us via 1800 654 301.

New resource

Lung Foundation Australia services brochure: A DL flyer to give to your patients living with a lung condition which highlights how Lung Foundation Australia can help through information and support services.

Call 1800 654 301 to order your copies.

Copyright © 26 6 2018, All rights reserved.
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