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In order to evaluate the effectiveness of a structured respiratory teaching programme, clients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who were hospitalized in a 13-month period both prior to and following the implementation of the programme were compared on several parameters to assess changes in their ability to manage their disabilities. The study demonstrated that clients who participated in the teaching sessions had fewer hospital admissions, shorter lengths of hospital stay, and longer stays in the community. A sub-group of clients who were or had been in at-risk occupations was identified as representing the‘revolving door’client with shorter hospital and community stays. The teaching programme is described as well as specific elements that can be used for a shorter teaching experience to respond to time constraints when necessary.