Healthcare professionals working in Primary care are at the forefront of diagnosis and management of COPD. At different stages, people with COPD may benefit from the specialist skills of respiratory specialists, respiratory physiotherapists, respiratory nurses, occupational therapists, district nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, palliative care specialists and social services. The role of primary care is, however, pivotal throughout, providing continuity of care and a generalist oversight to ensure that the patient’s individual needs remain the central focus.
The majority of patients can be looked after in primary care; there is no reason why an individual with severe COPD can’t be looked after entirely in primary care. An important part of COPD patient management is knowing when to ask for specialist support.