03 June 2015
In light of the growing burden of COPD, there is increasing focus on the role of self-management for this population. Currently, self-management varies widely. Little is known either about nurses’ and allied health professionals’ (AHPs’) understanding and provision of self-management in clinical practice. This study explores nurses’ and AHPs’ understanding and implementation of supported COPD self-management within routine clinical practice.
Nurses and AHPs participated in face-to-face semistructured interviews to explore their understanding and provision of COPD self-management, as well as their perceptions of the challenges to providing such care. Purposive sampling was used to select participants from a range of professions working within primary, community, and secondary care settings. Three researchers independently analyzed each transcript using a thematic approach.
A total of 14 participants were interviewed. Nurses and AHPs viewed self-management as an important aspect of COPD care, but often misunderstood what it involved, leading to variation in practice. A number of challenges to supporting self-management were identified, which related to lack of time, lack of insight regarding training needs, and assumptions regarding patients’ perceived self-management abilities.
Nurses and AHPs delivering self-management require clear guidance, training in the use of effective self-management skills, and education that challenges their preconceptions regarding patients. The design of health care services also needs to consider the practical barriers to COPD self-management support for the implementation of such interventions to be successful.