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Effects of COPD self-care management education at a nurse-led primary health care clinic

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Scand J Caring Sci; 2008; 22; 178–185Effects of COPD self-care management education at a nurse-led primary health care clinic

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is disabling, with symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm, wheezing, shortness of breath and increased infections of the respiratory passage. The aim was to examine the effects of a structured educational intervention programme at a nurse-led primary health care clinic (PHCC) on quality of life (QoL), knowledge about COPD and smoking cessation in patients with COPD. This study had an experimental design in which 52 patients with COPD from a Swedish primary care setting were randomized into two groups (intervention or control). Both groups received standard care but patients in the intervention group were also offered two visits to a nurse specialized in COPD care. The purpose of the visits was to increase the patients’ self-care ability and their knowledge about COPD. The study was approved by the local Research Ethics Committee. Data were collected using two questionnaires, one pertaining to knowledge about COPD and smoking habits and St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire, addressing how QoL was affected by the patients’ respiratory symptoms. The intervention and control groups answered both questionnaires on their first and last visits to the PHCC. A statistically significant increase was noted in the intervention group on QoL, the number of patients who stopped smoking and patients’ knowledge about COPD at the follow-up, 3–5 months after intervention. However, a confounding factor may have been that one of the researchers (Eva Österlund Efraimsson), as a nurse in the PHCC, performed the intervention. This implies that patients were in a dependent relationship which may have affected the responses in a favourable direction. Our findings show that conventional care alone did not have an effect on patients’ QoL and smoking habits. Instead, the evidence suggests that a structured programme with self-care education is needed to motivate patients for life-style changes.
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Keywords: district nursing; experimental design; patient teaching; primary care; quantitative approaches

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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