Who Refers Patients?
Referrals to pulmonary rehabilitation programs can come from:
- Respiratory specialists including physicians, surgeons, physiotherapists and nurses.
- General practitioners.
- General physicians.
- Other allied health professionals.
- Community health professionals.
- Potential participants (i.e. self referrals).
A referral form should be provided to the coordinator of the pulmonary rehabilitation program. The coordinator would normally be a health professional in charge of running the program. If the patient is a self-referral, the coordinator should check the patient’s eligibility with the patient’s general practitioner.
Invitation to attend
Following referral to the program, the coordinator should invite the patient to attend via an invitation letter or a phone call.
The invitation letter should include:
- An explanation that the patient has been referred to the program.
- The start date of the program.
- Options for parking and transport.
- A program brochure.
The coordinator should correspond with the referral source, the patient’s general practitioner and other relevant health providers. Correspondence may include an initial assessment letter and / or a final assessment letter, which summarise the results of assessments made before and after the program, respectively.
Non-acceptance or non-attendance
If patients do not respond to the written invitation, a “did not respond to correspondence” letter can be sent to the referring health providers. The non-accepting and non-attending patients can be followed up by their usual health care provider or by telephoning the referred patient.
Patient feedback on the program, which can be obtained by using a patient satisfaction survey, can also be useful. The flow chart below outlines the appropriate lines and methods of communication for referrals.