Supported self-management in COPD
This module will evaluate key aspects in the self-management of COPD by patients.
After completing the module, you should:
- be able to give examples of personal characteristics of a patient that may influence their ability to self-manage their condition
- appreciate the benefits and challenges of COPD action plans
- be aware of key considerations when delivering self-management advice
- be familiar with the role of smoking cessation in COPD self-management
- understand the role of pulmonary rehabilitation in improving COPD outcomes and the requirements when implementing such programmes.
This content for this module was originally created by Steph Wolfe, PCRS-UK Nurse Consultant.
Self-management of a chronic condition involves the patient themselves addressing the symptoms and treatment requirements of their condition with the support of healthcare professionals. The patient will often need to make physical, emotional and social adjustments to maintain their functioning and reduce the impact of the condition on their daily lives.1,2 Family, friends and carers will play a significant role too.
A key factor in COPD self-management is the early recognition and treatment of exacerbations by the patient, since such episodes can occur unpredictably and place an immense burden on both the patient (their quality of life) and the healthcare system and can accelerate decline in their overall condition.3,4 Other challenges a patient may have to contend with when self-managing their COPD include tobacco dependence, increasing disability, complex medication regimes, comorbidity and social isolation.5 Self-management education in COPD therefore must include both acute and chronic components – patients need advice and support on how to maintain their overall level of health and how to deal with exacerbations.
The impact of self-management on COPD outcomes has been studied. A Cochrane Review found that self-management education reduced hospital admissions, and significantly improved breathlessness and respiratory-related quality of life in patients.6 The current Primary Care Respiratory Society UK (PCRS-UK) guide places ‘an emphasis on encouragement of guided self-management’ in COPD.7,8 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines also highlight the importance of self-management in COPD.8,9
|List of abbreviations|
|ABGs||Arterial blood gases||HbA1c||Haemoglobin A1c|
|BMI||Body mass index||ICS||Inhaled corticosteroid|
|BTS||British Thoracic Society||LABA||Long-acting beta agonist|
|COPD||Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease||LAMA||Long-acting muscarinic antagonist|
|CPD||Continuing professional development||MRC||Medical Research Council|
|ECG||Electrocardiogram||NICE||National Institute for Health and Care Excellence|
|FBC||Full blood count||NRT||Nicotine replacement therapy|
|FEV1||Forced expiratory volume in 1st second||PCRS-UK||Primary Care Respiratory Society UK|
|GOLD||Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease||SABA||Short-acting beta agonist|
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