Background: There is much description in the literature of how patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) manage their breathlessness and engage in self-care activities; however, little of this is from the perspective of those with less severe disease, who are primarily managed in primary care. This study aimed to understand the self-care experiences of patients with COPD who are primarily managed in primary care, and to examine the challenges of engaging in such behaviors. Methods: Semistructured interviews were carried out with 15 patients with COPD as part of a larger project evaluating a self-management intervention. Thematic analysis was supported by NVivo software (version 8, QSR International, Melbourne, Australia). Results: Three main themes are described, ie, experiencing and understanding symptoms of COPD, current self-care activities, and the importance of family perceptions in managing COPD. Conclusion: Self-care activities evolved spontaneously as participants experienced symptoms of COPD. However, there was a lack of awareness about whether these strategies would impact upon symptoms. Perceptions of COPD by family members posed a challenge to self-care for some participants. Health care professionals should elicit patients’ prior disease experiences and utilize spontaneous attempts at disease management in future self-management. These findings have implications for promoting self-management and enhancing quality of life.
Bibliographical noteThis publication is an open access journal and is freely available on the Dove Press website at: http://www.dovepress.com/how-do-informal-self-care-strategies-evolve-among-patients-with-chroni-peer-reviewed-article-COPD
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- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- qualitative interviews
- primary care