Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a prevalent illness that, due to its symptoms and treatment, entails a significant burden for the affected person, and his/her family, health care and private finances. Today, knowledge and understanding are sparse regarding COPD-affected persons’ own lived experiences and about the symptom burden and its effect on their daily life. Due to this knowledge gap the aim of this study was to identify and describe the symptom burden and its effect on daily life in people with COPD, based on their own lived experiences.
Eleven males and 14 females in GOLD stages III and IV, in an age range of 58–82 years, were interviewed. An interview guide was used to direct the face-to-face interviews. Data was analyzed with thematic analysis following the six steps according to Braun and Clarke.
The results highlighted one theme: an altered everyday life. The altered everyday life leads to a need for support to handle everyday life and for different strategies to live as desired. Persons with COPD need to take each day as it comes and their life is not easy to plan since it depends on how they feel from day to day. Life is handled with several strategies such as breathing techniques, and ways to take care of the home and garden as well as the emotions. Support from the next of kin, society and the health care service is important.
This study provides the insight that persons with COPD in stages III and IV have an altered life caused by the symptom burden. They must struggle with strategies to handle everyday life. There is a need of support from the next of kin and society to facilitate daily living, but this support needs to be well-balanced.