PATIENTS with potentially avoidable chronic conditions are occupying more beds at Tamworth Hospital.
The latest Bureau of Health data for Tamworth Hospital showed a rise of six per cent in potentially avoidable admissions for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure.
COPD is a chronic lung disease common to people who smoke. It causes shortness of breath from destroyed lung tissue, or emphysema.
Tamworth Hospital experienced an increase of 22 per cent of patients with this condition, or more than one-in-five people, compared to the previous year.
Across all Hunter New England hospitals, four per cent of admitted COPD patients accounted for 59 per cent of hospital bed days for patients with the condition.
Of that number, 13.1 per cent per 100 discharges were readmitted to hospital.
Patient numbers with congestive heart failure at Tamworth Hospital improved slightly by two per cent.
It is a chronic condition that becomes worse over time as the heart is unable to pump blood fast enough to meet the body’s needs.
It can result from diseases that damage the heart, such as heart attack, high blood pressure or damaged heart valves.
The annual data showed 139 patients with this condition at Tamworth Hospital.
The hospital readmission rate for congestive heart failure across the region’s hospitals was 7.5 per cent per 100 discharges.
At the Armidale, Moree and Narrabri public hospitals, there were improvements in chronic treatment numbers as less people with the conditions checked in for medical assistance.
The best result was achieved at Narrabri District Hospital, where there was a drop of 52 per cent in congestive heart failure cases.
But its result for COPD showed a three per cent rise in patients with the condition.
The bureau said people with chronic conditions accounted for about 80 per cent of the disease burden in Australia.
However, acting chief executive Kim Browne said the new data helped to increase knowledge of how people with chronic conditions accessed hospitals.
“Many adults with chronic lung or heart conditions have other health conditions that are driving their use of hospitals,” Ms Browne said.
“Clinicians and hospital managers will find the information in this report useful in understanding an important source of demand for their services and, perhaps, finding new ways to reduce the need for hospitalisation.”