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How do informal self-care strategies evolve among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease managed in primary care? A qualitative study

Authors Apps L, Harrison S, Williams JE, Hudson N, Steiner M, Morgan M, Singh S

Received 8 August 2013

Accepted for publication 7 October 2013

Published 26 February 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 257—263


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Lindsay D Apps,1 Samantha L Harrison,1 Johanna EA Williams,1 Nicky Hudson,2 Michael Steiner,1 Mike D Morgan,1 Sally J Singh1,3

1National Institute of Health Research CLAHRC-LNR Pulmonary Rehabilitation Research Group, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, 2School of Applied Social Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester, 3Applied Research Centre Health & Lifestyle Interventions, Coventry University, Coventry, UK

Background: There is much description in the literature of how patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) manage their breathlessness and engage in self-care activities; however, little of this is from the perspective of those with less severe disease, who are primarily managed in primary care. This study aimed to understand the self-care experiences of patients with COPD who are primarily managed in primary care, and to examine the challenges of engaging in such behaviors.
Methods: Semistructured interviews were carried out with 15 patients with COPD as part of a larger project evaluating a self-management intervention. Thematic analysis was supported by NVivo software (version 8, QSR International, Melbourne, Australia).
Results: Three main themes are described, ie, experiencing and understanding symptoms of COPD, current self-care activities, and the importance of family perceptions in managing COPD.
Conclusion: Self-care activities evolved spontaneously as participants experienced symptoms of COPD. However, there was a lack of awareness about whether these strategies would impact upon symptoms. Perceptions of COPD by family members posed a challenge to self-care for some participants. Health care professionals should elicit patients' prior disease experiences and utilize spontaneous attempts at disease management in future self-management. These findings have implications for promoting self-management and enhancing quality of life.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, self-care, qualitative interviews, primary care

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