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Important, misunderstood, and challenging: a qualitative study of nurses’ and allied health professionals’ perceptions of implementing self-management for patients with COPD

Authors Young H, Apps L, Harrison S, Johnson-Warrington V, Hudson N, Singh S

Received 3 December 2014

Accepted for publication 23 February 2015

Published 3 June 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 1043—1052

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S78670

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Hannah ML Young,1 Lindsay D Apps,1 Samantha L Harrison,1 Vicki L Johnson-Warrington,1 Nicky Hudson,2 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 in Health and Lifestyle Interventions, Coventry University, Coventry, UK

Background: In light of the growing burden of COPD, there is increasing focus on the role of self-management for this population. Currently, self-management varies widely. Little is known either about nurses’ and allied health professionals’ (AHPs’) understanding and provision of self-management in clinical practice. This study explores nurses’ and AHPs’ understanding and implementation of supported COPD self-management within routine clinical practice.
Materials and methods: Nurses and AHPs participated in face-to-face semistructured interviews to explore their understanding and provision of COPD self-management, as well as their perceptions of the challenges to providing such care. Purposive sampling was used to select participants from a range of professions working within primary, community, and secondary care settings. Three researchers independently analyzed each transcript using a thematic approach.
Results: A total of 14 participants were interviewed. Nurses and AHPs viewed self-management as an important aspect of COPD care, but often misunderstood what it involved, leading to variation in practice. A number of challenges to supporting self-management were identified, which related to lack of time, lack of insight regarding training needs, and assumptions regarding patients’ perceived self-management abilities.
Conclusion: Nurses and AHPs delivering self-management require clear guidance, training in the use of effective self-management skills, and education that challenges their preconceptions regarding patients. The design of health care services also needs to consider the practical barriers to COPD self-management support for the implementation of such interventions to be successful.

Keywords: self-management, COPD, qualitative, interviews, nurses, allied health professionals

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