Whakakotahitia a Mate Romahā

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Established in 2008, the Integrated Respiratory Service has been fundamental in helping more people get support for their breathing conditions.

Diagnostic tests like spirometry and sleep studies are now able to be done in the community, closer to people in their homes, not just in the hospital. 

Better Breathing Pulmonary Rehabilitation is the only evidence-based intervention available for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and the community respiratory team deliver nine programmes a year throughout the region.

Community support and exercise groups are there to maintain exercise goals, and to remain connected with other people with similar conditions.

The Better Breathing Consumer Group represent the Better Breathing programmes and support groups and contribute to the development of new services and patient materials.

Specialist respiratory nurses and physicians are available to support general practice teams and community providers to look after their respiratory patients.

The Integrated Respiratory Service is overseen by the Integrated Respiratory Service Development Group (IRSDG), which includes representatives from consumers, Māori, Pasifika, general practice, community pharmacy, hospital and district nursing.

The Day 2 Project sees people who have been admitted to hospital with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) given a full assessment which considers the physical, emotional, social and environmental factors linked to their condition. This helps those involved in their care make connections with appropriate services and resources on their discharge from hospital.

Hospital stays for people with COPD can last as little as three days, so this assessment will be carried out from the second day to fit around clinical activity.

The 12-month project, which started in June 2021, is led by a steering group of which half of the members are consumers with lived experience of COPD, working alongside clinicians to develop the new model. The project uses the partnership in design approach, putting people and whānau at the centre of the design of ā tātou (our own) health system and services.

The steering group will work with organisations outside of health that can influence the social factors that impact lung health, such as housing and access to nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities. The goal is to reduce the overall admission of people with COPD into hospital by 20 per cent, and readmissions from 20% to 12%.

Latest News

New Integrated Services Manager already making inroads

16 Jul, 2021 | Return|

Heather Brunton joined Canterbury Clinical Network (CCN) as Integrated Services Manager, with Deborah Callahan’s secondment at the Canterbury DHB in emergency response being extended.

Acting CCN Executive Director Linda Wensley says the team is thrilled to have Heather onboard and her experience and knowledge is extremely valued. 

“Heather is already well involved with the Integrated Respiratory Service Development Group and is an integral part of a project team exploring ways to provide the right services and support for people with respiratory conditions to stay well in the community,” says Linda. 

“Alongside this work, Heather’s fresh eyes on how the Integrated Respiratory Services are provided in the community are proving invaluable.”

Heather has a background in nursing with extensive experience working in clinical and management roles across Australia, United Kingdom and Canterbury.

“I’ve worked in oncology, palliative care and more recently supporting people with a progressive neurological condition in the community,” says Heather. 

“My interest in how people, technology and data intersect to improve safety and quality of patient care led me to complete a Post Graduate diploma in Health Informatics and a Masters in Health Science. I have been involved in various national steering committees and projects to improve and develop service delivery.”

“The aims of CCN around understanding the population needs by using data, listening to the health providers and community resonated with my focus of improvement of health services making the best use of the healthcare resources.” 

Working in a clinical role in the community also increased Heather’s awareness of the barriers of accessing healthcare and understanding of the determinates of health of the Canterbury population.

“I am excited to be part of a team that takes a whole picture approach to achieving equity and improve health services, to ensure our people get the services they need as close to their homes as possible. I’m also looking forward to being part of the Integrated Respiratory Services team and supporting their vision and work.”

As part of this role Heather also joins Rebecca Muir and Rose Laing to continue to embed the use of Shared Care Plans across Canterbury. 

About the Author


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Useful resources

Work Plan 2021-22

For Integrated Respiratory SDG. Read full CCN work plan.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation flyer

Information about Canterbury Community Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

Funded Inhalers

Poster showing the funded inhalers in New Zealand 2019.

Exercise groups flyer

Flyer with details of the community respiratory support and exercise groups.

Learning to breathe better

Breathing Breathing Programme - a patient perspective.