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      Involvement of informal caregivers in supporting patients with COPD: a review of intervention studies

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          Caregivers of individuals with COPD have a key role in maintaining patient adherence and optimizing patient function. However, no systematic review has examined how the caregiver role has been operationalized in interventions to improve outcomes of individuals with COPD or the quality or effectiveness of these interventions. The aims of this review were to 1) determine whether caregivers have been involved as part of interventions to improve outcomes of individuals with COPD; 2) determine the risk of bias within included intervention studies; and 3) examine the effectiveness of interventions that have involved caregivers in improving outcomes of individuals with COPD. The electronic databases of Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library were searched from January 2000 to November 2015. Experimental studies testing interventions that involved a caregiver to improve COPD patient outcomes were eligible. Nine studies involving caregivers met inclusion criteria. No studies reported any intervention components targeted solely at caregivers, with most instead including caregivers in dyadic or group education sessions about COPD delivered by health care professionals. The risk of bias identified in included studies was mixed. Seven of the nine studies were effective in improving a broad range of outcomes. These findings highlight that there is an urgent need for methodologically rigorous interventions to examine the effectiveness of strategies to assist caregivers to provide direct care, encourage adherence to health care provider recommendations, act as a health care advocate, and provide emotional and psychosocial support to individuals with COPD.

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          Most cited references 34

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              Smoking cessation and lung function in mild-to-moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Lung Health Study.

              Previous studies of lung function in relation to smoking cessation have not adequately quantified the long-term benefit of smoking cessation, nor established the predictive value of characteristics such as airway hyperresponsiveness. In a prospective randomized clinical trial at 10 North American medical centers, we studied 3, 926 smokers with mild-to-moderate airway obstruction (3,818 with analyzable results; mean age at entry, 48.5 yr; 36% women) randomized to one of two smoking cessation groups or to a nonintervention group. We measured lung function annually for 5 yr. Participants who stopped smoking experienced an improvement in FEV(1) in the year after quitting (an average of 47 ml or 2%). The subsequent rate of decline in FEV(1) among sustained quitters was half the rate among continuing smokers, 31 +/- 48 versus 62 +/- 55 ml (mean +/- SD), comparable to that of never-smokers. Predictors of change in lung function included responsiveness to beta-agonist, baseline FEV(1), methacholine reactivity, age, sex, race, and baseline smoking rate. Respiratory symptoms were not predictive of changes in lung function. Smokers with airflow obstruction benefit from quitting despite previous heavy smoking, advanced age, poor baseline lung function, or airway hyperresponsiveness.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                14 July 2016
                : 11
                : 1587-1596
                [1 ]Health Behaviour Research Group, Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour
                [2 ]Hunter Medical Research Institute, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jamie Bryant, Health Behaviour Research Group, University of Newcastle, Lot 1 Kookaburra Circuit, New Lambton Heights, NSW 2305, Australia, Tel +61 2 4042 0709, Fax +61 2 4042 0040, Email jamie.bryant@
                © 2016 Bryant et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.


                Respiratory medicine

                copd, carer, support persons, intervention studies


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