Patient experiences of COPD: the impacts of interactions with health professionals
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Bulley, C., Salisbury, L., Whiteford, S. & Donaghy, M. () Patient experiences of COPD: the impacts of interactions with health professionals, , , , ,
Introduction: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has negative impacts on function and quality of life. There are actions an individual can take to manage their symptoms optimally. A study was designed to explore individuals' experiences of COPD and its management prior to attendance at pulmonary rehabilitation. This abstract focuses on the impacts of interactions with health professionals on their experiences and views regarding attendance. Methods: Individuals with COPD who were referred to a pulmonary rehabilitation service were invited to participate in a single interview prior to joining the programme. Purposive selection of five men and four women ensured a variety of experiences. All participants were white Caucasians living in Glasgow, Scotland and were aged between 59 and 82. Semi-structured interviews (50-90 minutes) were carried out in participants' homes. A topic guide was developed to focus on experiences of COPD and its management. Ethical approval was granted by the Multi-Region Ethics Committee in Scotland. Transcribed interviews were analysed within the framework of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis1. Two researchers iteratively developed a classification of views and experiences (themes), progressing to locate relationships between themes. Data management utilised the QSR N6 package. Results: Classification of experiences demonstrated positive and negative interactions with health professionals. Positive interactions included the provision of effective advice on coping with symptoms. This advice, from paramedics, nurses and physiotherapists, was remembered and implemented by patients. Positive experiences were associated with feelings of faith in clinical staff. This led to positive expectations of further management such as pulmonary rehabilitation. However, several individuals described an absence of advice, except in relation to smoking cessation. They often felt dismissed by medical staff and felt that visits to specialist clinics were a waste of time. This was associated with concerns that the burden of attending pulmonary rehabilitation would exceed the benefit. Conclusions: In this group of individuals with COPD the provision of expert advice had a positive impact on feelings of faith in clinical staff, as it led to increased coping with symptoms. It is important that health professionals are aware of the impacts they may have on patient participation in management. Communications with patients over the course of their disease appear to be integrated into beliefs about the benefits of management and value of investing time and effort in pulmonary rehabilitation.