In a Strained Healthcare System, Patients with Advanced COPD Struggle to Access the Needed Support from the Healthcare Professionals: A Qualitative Study

Marie Lavesen, Marie Albrectsen Paine, Dorthe Gaby Bove

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This study aimed to explore the self-management strategies of Danish patients living with advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), with a particular focus on their daily life and their interactions with the respiratory outpatient clinic. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 11 patients with COPD affiliated with a Danish respiratory outpatient clinic. The data were thematically analyzed as suggested by Braun & Clarke. The analysis revealed one overarching theme, three main themes, and six subthemes. The overarching theme ‘In a strained healthcare system patients with COPD struggle to access needed support to be able to self-manage their disease’ revolved around the challenges that patients face in an overburdened healthcare system as they seek support to effectively self-manage their condition. The three main themes were: (1) Only physical symptoms provide legal access to the respiratory outpatient clinic, (2) For patients, the measurements serve as indicators of their health status and overall well-being, (3) Healthcare professionals’ skills and not the mode of contact matters to the patients. Healthcare professionals should be aware that the rhetoric surrounding a busy healthcare system with a stressed-out staff also affects patients. Patients with COPD may be particularly sensitive to this message and try to avoid burdening the healthcare system further by setting aside their own needs. However, this approach can lead to neglecting symptoms of deterioration and mental symptoms, which increase the risk of disease progression and subsequent risk of hospital admission.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2361669
JournalCOPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jun 2024

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