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Jul 2021

Virtual Care for Managing COPD 


Individuals living with chronic lung disease such as COPD are at risk for severe complications of COVID-19 infection. This resource will guide primary care providers on how to manage individuals living with COPD through a virtual-first approach. 

Please note, the following resource was developed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, when necessity required deviation from existing evidence-based guidelines as in-person visits were significantly limited. Certain frameworks and guidance within the resource are applicable only to the "crisis care" needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and should be reviewed with this consideration in mind. Established Clinical Practice Guidelines are the authoritative source for evidence-based care.

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About the tool

This resource has been developed to guide and support family physicians and primary care nurse practitioners to continue to manage their patients with COPD virtually and when appropriate, in-person, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key management guidance and care tips are provided to support the continued integration of virtual care in the management of an individual living with COPD. This resource also aims to allow family physicians and primary care nurse practitioners to support building their patients' self-management capacity. The following sections are included:

  • Virtual care tips
  • General considerations for COPD care
  • Uncontrolled symptoms
  • Optimizing patient self-management and patient resources

The Management of COPD During COVID-19 Resource was developed using a modified version of the Centre for Effective Practice’s integrated knowledge translation approach. The CEP ensures that primary care providers are engaged throughout the resource development process. Clinical leadership was provided by Dr. Anthony D'Urzo, along with a clinical working group and an advisory committee.

This resource was developed by the Centre for Effective Practice and University of Toronto's Department of Family and Community Medicine with support from the Ontario College of Family Physicians, Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario, Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario, Ontario Medical Association Section for General and Family Practice, eHealth Centre of Excellence, Ontario MD and Ontario Health (OTN).

Clinical leads

  • Anthony D'Urzo

    MD, MSC

    Dr. D'Urzo is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto (UofT), a Family Physician and UTOPIAN researcher (Department of Family and Community Medicine, UofT) and Director of the Primary Care Lung Clinic, Toronto. He has a very keen interest in promoting respiratory health in primary care and has had the opportunity to do so at the local, national and International levels over the last 30 years. He is very actively involved in clinical and pharmaco-therapeutic research in the areas of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) management. He has enjoyed being a member of the Canadian Asthma Guidelines Committee and the Canadian Thoracic Society COPD Guidelines Committee. Since 1994 he has worked closely with Ontario Lung Association/Health Foundation and the Ontario Thoracic Society on many exciting collaborative projects. His favourite past time is spending time with his family and grandchildren.

Clinical working group

  • Barbara Moore (Patient representative)
  • Payal Agarwal MD, CCFP,  BASC
  • Jennifer Young MD, FCFP-EM

Advisory committee

Feedback was also provided by a committee of advisors:

  • Noah Ivers, MD, PhD
  • Tara Kiran, MD, MSc, CCFP, FCFP
  • Daniel Pepe, MD, CCFP
  • Sarah Newbery MD, CCFP, FCFP, FRRMS
  • Nicole Nitti, MD, CCFP(EM), FCFP
  • Anna Holland MD, CCFP (AM)
  • Mia Biondi PhD, NP-PHC
  • Jennifer Young, MD, FCFP-EM (Ontario College of Family Physicians)
  • Kevin Samson MD (Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario)
  • Danika Voisin (eHealth Centre of Excellence)
  • Laurie Poole RN, MHSA (Ontario Health, OTN)
  • Reza Talebi MD, MSc (OntarioMD)
  • Chandi Chandrasena MD (OntarioMD)
  • Karine Baser (Ontario Health)
  • Maurine Parzen RN, PhD (Patient Representative)

Conflict of interest

Clinical leads received compensation for their role. 

Clinical working group members received an honorarium for their participation.

Conflict of Interest 

The clinical lead received compensation for her role.

Topic expert group members received an honorarium for their participation.

Usability participants received a token of appreciation (e.g., gift certificate).

Thank you to everyone who supported the development of this tool!

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