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Research project: The experiences and expectations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients referred to Pulmonary Rehabilitation programmes

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a respiratory condition that is a major public health concern internationally and nationally. Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) has been recognised as an essential part of care for patients with COPD but many who are referred fail to attend or complete the programmes. In depth interviews were performed with COPD patients who had been referred to a PR programme before they were seen clinically to enter that programme.

Patients were then interviewed several months later after they had seen the PR clinical teams in either Portsmouth or Southampton, regardless of whether they participated in a programme. A broad range of experiences of the patient journey through PR were then analysed. Analysis is ongoing at present. It is hoped that by learning more about the different patient experiences through PR, referral processes to PR programmes and PR programme development will be related more specifically to how the COPD patient experiences their disease and they will be treated empathetically.

Introduction

Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) is an evidence-based intervention for people who have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). However, many people who are referred to PR do not complete or start the programme to which they are referred. The aim of this study is to increase the understanding of the COPD patients’ experience of living with their COPD and their experience of being referred to PR.

Method

An Applied Interpretive Phenomenological (AIP) method was used. Participants were recruited from PR waiting lists and interviewed individually in their own homes or within The University of Southampton before their initial assessment into a PR programme. Participants were recruited from both Portsmouth and Southampton National Health Service (NHS) PR programmes.

Findings

Twenty-five participants (fourteen males) were recruited. Various themes have emerged from this study from preliminary analysis of five of the participants interviewed, which has increased our understanding of the patient experience. Themes include: 1) My lungs work better away from home. 2) Fighting a battle against breathlessness. 3) Many different causes of COPD. 4) The experience of panic. 5) What is PR? 6) Helping others.

Conclusion

This study has shed light on the experiences of COPD patients prior to entering PR and suggests that many approach PR without knowing specific details of the programme and approach PR with altruistic motives. Analysis is ongoing. Further research investigating patient perceptions and experiences following the PR programme is required to further increase our understanding of the patient experience with the aim of possibly developing PR programmes or referral processes in the future.

Project team

Dr Anne Bruton, Dr Maggie Donovan-Hall

Team funder

National Health Education South Central (NESC)

 

Associated research themes

Preliminary themes include: 1) My lungs work better away from home. 2) Fighting a battle against breathlessness. 3) Many different causes of COPD. 4) The experience of panic. 5) What is PR? 6) Helping others.

Related research groups

Active Living and Rehabilitation
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