Disease-Specific Self-Management Programs in Patients with Advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Comprehensive and Critical Evaluation
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term illness. As the disease progresses, it become more complex and spirals into an abstract complex of interrelated physical, emotional and psychosocial problems. Patients are in a constant process of learning as they endure, manage and adapt to the changing nature of the disease. It has recently been proposed that self management should be a part of the standard care for patients with COPD. This review presents a comprehensive and critical evaluation of the international literature with respect to the benefits of disease-specific self-management programs on health status and the use of health resources in patients with advanced COPD. This review screened all English-language studies indexed in Medline that investigated patient education and self management in patients with COPD, and were published in peer-reviewed journals between 1966 and 2003. Randomized controlled trials of self management in COPD were included in this review if health status or the use of health resources were measured. A best-evidence synthesis was conducted and ten studies were selected for this review. It was found that there was extreme variation between the studies in terms of the content and intensity of self-management programs, continuum of the patient program, follow-up visits, and support provided to patients. Of the ten studies, four reported a significant improvement in health status for patients in the self-management groups compared with usual-care groups. Physician visits (acute) were significantly reduced in the self-management group compared with the usual-care group in two out of four studies in which it was assessed. Self management was also associated with a reduction in emergency room visits in one out of two studies and a reduction in hospital admissions or duration of hospitalization in one out of five studies. The findings of this review reveal new evidence that disease-specific self management can improve patients
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