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Pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD – available resources and utilization in Swedish primary and secondary care

Authors Sundh J, Lindgren H, Hasselgren M, Montgomery S, Janson C, Ställberg B, Lisspers K

Received 18 February 2017

Accepted for publication 13 April 2017

Published 8 June 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1695—1704


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Josefin Sundh,1 Helena Lindgren,2 Mikael Hasselgren,2 Scott Montgomery,3–5 Christer Janson,6 Björn Ställberg,7 Karin Lisspers7

1Department of Respiratory Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, 2Medical Programme, School of Medical Sciences, 3Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, 4Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; 5Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College, London, UK; 6Department of Medical Sciences, Respiratory, Allergy and Sleep Research, 7Department of Public Health and Caring Science, Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Introduction: Pulmonary rehabilitation is effective in all stages of COPD. The availability and utilization of pulmonary rehabilitation resources, and the characteristics of COPD patients receiving rehabilitation, were investigated in primary and secondary care in central Sweden.
Materials and methods: Data on available pulmonary rehabilitation resources were collected using questionnaires, to 14 hospitals and 54 primary health care centers, and information on utilization of different rehabilitation professionals was obtained from questionnaires completed by 1,329 COPD patients from the same centers. Multivariable logistic regression examined associations with having received rehabilitation in the previous year.
Results: In primary care, nurse-based asthma/COPD clinics were common (87%), with additional separate access to other rehabilitation professionals. In secondary care, rehabilitation was more often offered as part of a multidisciplinary teamwork (71%). In total, 36% of the patients met an asthma/COPD nurse in the previous year. Utilization was lower in primary than in secondary care for physiotherapists (7% vs 16%), occupational therapists (3% vs 10%), nutritionists (5% vs 13%), and counselors (1% vs 4%). A higher COPD Assessment Test score and frequent exacerbations were associated with higher utilization of all rehabilitation professionals.
Conclusion: Pulmonary rehabilitation resources are available but underutilized, and receiving rehabilitation is more common in severe COPD. Treatment recommendations need to be better implemented, especially in mild and moderate COPD.

Keywords: multidisciplinary, asthma/COPD nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, nutritionist, counselor

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