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Experience of insomnia, symptom attribution and treatment preferences in individuals with moderate to severe COPD: a qualitative study

Authors Kauffman K, Doede M, Diaz-Abad M, Scharf SM, Bell-Farrell W, Rogers V, Geiger-Brown J

Received 24 July 2014

Accepted for publication 3 September 2014

Published 10 December 2014 Volume 2014:8 Pages 1699—1704


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Karen S Kauffman,1 Megan Doede,1 Montserrat Diaz-Abad,2 Steven M Scharf,2,3 Wanda Bell-Farrell,2 Valerie E Rogers,1 Jeanne Geiger-Brown1

1Department of Family and Community Health, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD, USA; 2Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA; 3The University of Maryland Sleep Disorders Center, Baltimore, MD, USA

Abstract: Persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are known to have poor sleep quality. Acceptance of and adherence to therapies for sleep problems may depend on how the person with COPD regards the source of his sleep problem, yet little is known about their attribution as to the cause of these sleep symptoms. The objective of this study was to describe the subjective sleep complaints of individuals with COPD along with their attributions as to the cause of these symptoms, and their treatment preferences for insomnia. Three focus groups were conducted (N=18) with participants who have moderate to severe COPD. Focus group data were transcribed, compared and contrasted to identify themes of attribution. Participants reported difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and daytime sleepiness. They attributed their sleep problems primarily to their pulmonary symptoms, but also poor air quality (thick humid air) and death anxiety when awake during the night. There was no clear preference for type of treatment to remedy this problem (medication, cognitive therapy), although they indicated that traveling to the clinic was difficult and should be avoided as much as possible. These data suggest that environmental manipulation to improve air quality (eg, air conditioning) and modifications to reduce death anxiety could be beneficial to persons with COPD. In-person multi-session therapy may not be acceptable to persons with moderate to severe COPD, however internet-based therapy might make treatment more accessible.

Keywords: insomnia, sleep, death anxiety, qualitative research, patient preference, attitude to health, COPD

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