28 Oct 2020

To find out more about their experiences, a team from the Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London who lead the palliative and end of life care theme, interviewed 19 people with both COPD and frailty referred for pulmonary rehabilitation.

Participants included a mixture of people who did and did not complete the rehabilitation program. They described how they were referred for pulmonary rehabilitation on a background of ‘Striving to adapt to multidimensional loss’ (e.g. functional abilities, relationships, confidence). Alongside this they were also managing ‘Tensions of balancing support with independence

Old people walking in the park

People with COPD and frailty tended to see ‘Pulmonary rehabilitation as a challenge worth facing’: they were highly motivated to take part, despite the physical and mental demands, and reported a range of benefits. However, this involved ‘Overcoming unpredictable disruptions to participation’ (e.g. acute exacerbations of their illness, conflicting health appointments) to complete rehabilitation programmes. Participant determination and service flexibility helped some, but not all, to attend.

Overall, the interviews suggested a need for person-centred approaches, supportive communication and flexible service designs to support their engagement with pulmonary rehabilitation. Read the full paper: https://doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.201910-800OC