AIM: To describe experiences among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) of the lasting usefulness one year after participating in a multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programme in a primary health care (PHC) setting.
BACKGROUND: COPD affects patients' functioning in daily life. In a previous study, the patients participated in a programme for PR and were found to increase their functional capacity, quality of life and decrease exacerbations. The present study aims to provide a deeper understanding of the experience of participating in the programme.
DESIGN: The study has a descriptive, qualitative design and is part of a longitudinal study on a multidisciplinary programme for PR of patients with COPD.
METHOD: Semi-structured interviews with 20 participants were performed and data analysed by qualitative content analysis.
FINDINGS: The findings are presented in one theme that illustrates the participants' experience of their current situation; I live life at my own pace, and three sub-themes illustrating this experience related to the participation in the programme; Awareness of limitations in my life; Regained control over my life; and No change in my life.
CONCLUSION: Irrespective of whether the patients had already found their own strategies for managing the disease or whether the programme changed their lives, they lived their lives at their own pace. However, their lives were shadowed by worry.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: A multidisciplinary programme for PR in PHC could be an alternative for patients suffering from COPD, in order to facilitate for them in their daily life. It is suggested that the inclusion of patients in such groups should be based on each individual's need based on symptoms or functional capacity in everyday life, not based on spirometry values.
UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Vol. 15, no 3, 302-311 p.