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To live a life with COPD – the consequences of symptom burden

Authors Johansson H, Berterö C, Berg K, Jonasson LL

Received 26 October 2018

Accepted for publication 1 February 2019

Published 29 April 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 905—909

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S192280

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Helena Johansson,1,2 Carina Berterö,2 Katarina Berg,2 Lise-Lotte Jonasson3

1Department of Medical Specialist, Linköping University, Motala, Sweden; 2Department of Medical Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden; 3Faculty of Caring Science, Work Life and Social Welfare, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden

Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a prevalent illness that, due to its symptoms and treatment, entails a significant burden for the affected person, and his/her family, health care and private finances. Today, knowledge and understanding are sparse regarding COPD-affected persons’ own lived experiences and about the symptom burden and its effect on their daily life. Due to this knowledge gap the aim of this study was to identify and describe the symptom burden and its effect on daily life in people with COPD, based on their own lived experiences.
Subject and method: Eleven males and 14 females in GOLD stages III and IV, in an age range of 58–82 years, were interviewed. An interview guide was used to direct the face-to-face interviews. Data was analyzed with thematic analysis following the six steps according to Braun and Clarke.
Results: The results highlighted one theme: an altered everyday life. The altered everyday life leads to a need for support to handle everyday life and for different strategies to live as desired. Persons with COPD need to take each day as it comes and their life is not easy to plan since it depends on how they feel from day to day. Life is handled with several strategies such as breathing techniques, and ways to take care of the home and garden as well as the emotions. Support from the next of kin, society and the health care service is important.
Conclusion: This study provides the insight that persons with COPD in stages III and IV have an altered life caused by the symptom burden. They must struggle with strategies to handle everyday life. There is a need of support from the next of kin and society to facilitate daily living, but this support needs to be well-balanced.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, symptom burden, daily life, thematic analysis

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