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Keywords:

  • chronic disease;
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • interviews;
  • qualitative study;
  • respiratory nursing;
  • self-management behaviour

Abstract

Title. Self-management behaviours for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a qualitative study.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to explore the self-management behaviours of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Background.  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a major cause of chronic morbidity and mortality throughout the world. A patient-centred perspective calls for the investigation of self-management behaviours as means to develop self-management programmes and enhance quality of life for patients with COPD.

Method.  The participants were a convenience sample of 18 patients with COPD of various severities. Interview data were collected in the thoracic ward, outpatient department and pulmonary rehabilitation unit of a medical centre in Taiwan from November 2006 to April 2007.

Findings.  Participants demonstrated the ability to choose suitable disease management behaviours to prevent symptoms and complications. Five themes of disease management behaviours were identified: symptom management, activity and exercise implementation, environmental control, emotional adaptation and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Conclusion.  Participants are experts on their lives and, as such, they adopt appropriate disease control behaviours, based on their experience and knowledge, as well as integrate the illness and its symptoms into their lives. With the worldwide increase in migration, an understanding of the cultural factors that influence patients’ perspectives on self-management behaviours is necessary and can contribute to the development of an evidence-based programme for disease self-management with COPD.