General Practice

Clinical Resources

Lung Foundation Australia has developed a range of clinical resources that support general practice in the diagnosis and management of COPD.

COPD-X Guidelines

The COPD-X Plan is the Australian and New Zealand online management guidelines for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.  It has been developed jointly by The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Lung Foundation.  It is written as a decision support aid primarily for general practitioners and other primary health care clinicians managing people with established COPD. It is regularly updated as new evidence is published.

COPD-X Concise Guide for Primary Care

This new COPD-X Concise Guide for Primary Care has been written to assist GPs, nurses and the general practice team in the management of patients with COPD.  It is available as a fully searchable pdf document with internal hyperlinks to assist navigation.  Recommendations are easily identified by accent boxes and the recommendations are graded according to the strength and the quality of the evidence.  Additional practice tips are included and designed to aid clinical care.

Stepwise Management of Stable COPD

One page, stepwise guide to pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions according to level of severity of disease.

Primary Care Respiratory Toolkit

Lung Foundation Australia’s Primary Care Respiratory Toolkit supports the promotion of lung health as well as the early diagnosis and best practice treatment of lung disease. Evidence shows that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is under-recognised, under-diagnosed and under-managed. The Primary Care Respiratory Toolkit has been developed to redress this.

General practice management plan (GPMP) and Team care arrangement (TCA)

Patients diagnosed with COPD are eligible for a GPMP and TCA. A very detailed template has been developed in RTF to import into medical software for use in managing a patient with COPD. This is a complex condition and each patient will present with different symptoms therefore not all parts of this GPMP will be relevant for every patient. The template has been designed to include common co-morbidities and has hyperlinks to many patient and clinical resources.

gpmpandtca-copd_final (355 KB)

COPD-X Educational Video

COPD Action Plan

The COPDX Action Plan should be completed by the clinician and patient together. It guides the patient in recognising when their condition changes and what action they should take.

COPD Medicines Wall Chart

The wall chart of inhalers and medicines for COPD can be downloaded and used to assist in the education of patients – print in A3 or larger for best display. This is the 1st edition of the chart and features those products that were available on the PBS as at August 2014. This chart will be updated periodically as new medicines become listed on the PBS. Refer to the Stepwise management of stable COPD or COPD-X Concise Guide for Primary Care for further guidance on the use of the medicines.

COPD Medicines Wall Chart_A4 (670 KB)

COPD Medicines Wall Chart 300px


COPD Screening Devices in General Practice

Lung Foundation Australia supports targeted COPD case-finding in the community using COPD Screening devices.

The main aim of targeted COPD case-finding with a COPD screening device is to identify those at risk of COPD and avoid unnecessary spirometry in those with normal lung function.

COPD Online: A Training Program for Primary Care Nurses

Learn about COPD, identify patients with COPD, manage patients with COPD and develop self-management plans with patients.

MBS-Flow-Charts-for-COPD-2015_1 (121 KB)

These flow charts summarise how the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item numbers can be utilised to the benefit of the patient with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This includes a description of the role that practice nurses can undertake to assist in the management of the patient.

Quitting smoking at any age is beneficial (62 KB)

Who benefits from quitting smoking - Fletcher Peto Graph

This graph developed by Fletcher and Peto*, show the gradual loss of lung function in a never smoker compared to the more rapid loss of lung function in a smoker.  It also shows that by quitting smoking at any age the rate of lung function lost reverts to that of a non-smoker and results in years of life gained.  Reinforce the message that it is never too late to quit.

* Fletcher, C. and R. Peto, The natural history of chronic airflow obstruction. Br Med J, 1977. 1(6077): p. 1645-8.

Supporting smoking cessation: a guide for health professionals

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has produced the above guidelines on Supporting smoking cessation and this is endorsed by the Lung Foundation.
Smoking and lung health - Health Professionals (258 KB)

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) Australia’s Health 2012 report provides a snapshot of tobacco smoking
LFA Knock the Wind Poster - Health Professionals (323 KB)

This poster can be ordered for display in your surgery. It encourages your patients to be aware of symptoms of COPD and to ask for a lung function test if they are worried about their lung health.


Spirometry is a common test used to assess how well your lungs work by measuring how much air you can inhale, how much you can exhale and how quickly you can exhale.  It can measure how effectively air can be moved in and out of the lungs. More information here.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a comprehensive program for people living with chronic lung disease who have symptoms of breathlessness and often have a decreased ability to perform the activities of daily life. Programs are individually tailored and designed to optimise physical and social wellbeing. The structure and delivery of each program is different and depends upon local resources.

People who have chronic lung conditions are often less active and can lose their fitness and muscle strength. By exercising regularly, a person’s fitness and muscle strength can be maintained or improved.

Find a pulmonary rehabilitation program in your area.

Find a lung foundation support group in your area.

Inhaler Device Technique

Research shows that up to 90% of Australians with a respiratory condition are not using their inhaler devices correctly.

There are a number of different inhaler devices available and many patients will be using more than one device which can increase the risk of error. Using an inhaler device is a skill and to deliver the medicine to where it will work best each device needs to be used correctly.

Asthma inhaler device techiques checklist (72 KB) COPD inhaler technique and adherence checklist (233 KB)

There are many different respiratory inhaler devices that patients could be using.  Click here to access patient fact sheets on:

  • Accuhaler
  • Autohaler
  • Breezhaler
  • Ellipta
  • Genuair
  • Handihaler
  • Puffer
  • Puffer and spacer
  • Turbuhaler

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The COPD National Program receives unrestricted sponsorship towards the development of training and resources from the following companies:

Foundation Partners:

Principal Partners:

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Supporting Partners: