Self-care 3 months after attending chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patient education: a qualitative descriptive analysis
Camilla Askov Mousing1, Kirsten Lomborg2
1School of Health Sciences, Randers School of Nursing, VIA University College, Randers, Denmark; 2Department of Public Health, Nursing Science, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Purpose: The authors performed a qualitative descriptive analysis to explore how group patient education influences the self-care of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Patients and methods: In the period 2009–2010, eleven patients diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease completed an 8-week group education program in a Danish community health center. The patients were interviewed 3 months after completion of the program.
Findings: Patients reported that their knowledge of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease had increased, that they had acquired tools to handle their symptoms, and that the social aspect of patient education had motivated them to utilize their new habits after finishing the course. The data indicate that patients need a period of adjustment (a "ripening period"): it took time for patients to integrate new habits and competencies into everyday life. Talking to health care professionals focused the patients' attention on their newly acquired skills and the research interview made them more aware of their enhanced self-care.
Conclusion: Patients' self-care may be enhanced through group education, even though the patients are not always able to see the immediate outcome. Some patients may require professional help to implement their newly acquired knowledge and skills in everyday life. A planned dialogue concentrating on self-care in everyday life 3 months after finishing the course may enhance patients' awareness and appraisal of their newly acquired competencies.
Keywords: COPD, education program, patient knowledge, patient perspective, patient skills, ripening period
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