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Narrative medicine to improve the management and quality of life of patients with COPD: the first experience applying parallel chart in Italy

Authors Banfi P, Cappuccio A, Latella ME, Reale L, Muscianisi E, Marini MG

Received 9 August 2017

Accepted for publication 10 November 2017

Published 11 January 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 287—297


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Paolo Banfi,1 Antonietta Cappuccio,2 Maura E Latella,3 Luigi Reale,2 Elisa Muscianisi,3 Maria Giulia Marini2

1Pneumological Rehabilitation, IRCCS Fondazione Don Gnocchi Onlus, Milan, Italy; 2Healthcare Area, Fondazione ISTUD, Milan, Italy; 3Medical Department, Novartis Farma Spa, Origgio, Italy

Purpose: Poor adherence to therapy and the failure of current smoking cessation programs demonstrate that the current management of COPD can be improved, and it is necessary to educate physicians about new approaches for taking care of patients. Parallel chart is a narrative medicine tool that improves the doctor–patient relationship by asking physicians to write about their patients’ lives, thereby encouraging reflective thoughts on care.
Patients and methods: Between October 2015 and March 2016, 50 Italian pulmonologists were involved in the collection of parallel charts of anonymous patients with COPD. The narratives were analyzed according to the Grounded Theory methodology.
Results: In the 243 parallel charts collected, the patients (mean age 69 years, 68% men) are described as still active and as a resource for their families (71%). The doctor–patient relationship started as difficult in 50% of cases, and younger age and smoking were the main risk factors. The conversations turned positive in 78% of narratives, displaying deeper mutual knowledge, trust for the clinicians’ ability to establish effective therapy (92%), support efforts to quit smoking (63%), or restore patients’ activities (78%).
Conclusion: All the physicians concurred that the adoption of innovative parallel charts was useful for improving clinical care and worthy of official inclusion in protocols for the management of COPD.

Keywords: narrative medicine, COPD, doctor–patient relationship, quality of life

A Letter to the Editor has been received and published for this article.

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