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      Can a supported self-management program for COPD upon hospital discharge reduce readmissions? A randomized controlled trial

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          Patients with COPD experience exacerbations that may require hospitalization. Patients do not always feel supported upon discharge and frequently get readmitted. A Self-management Program of Activity, Coping, and Education for COPD (SPACE for COPD), a brief self-management program, may help address this issue.


          To investigate if SPACE for COPD employed upon hospital discharge would reduce readmission rates at 3 months, compared with usual care.


          This is a prospective, single-blinded, two-center trial (ISRCTN84599369) with participants admitted for an exacerbation, randomized to usual care or SPACE for COPD. Measures, including health-related quality of life and exercise capacity, were taken at baseline (hospital discharge) and at 3 months. The primary outcome measure was respiratory readmission at 3 months.


          Seventy-eight patients were recruited (n=39 to both groups). No differences were found in readmission rates or mortality at 3 months between the groups. Ten control patients were readmitted within 30 days compared to five patients in the intervention group ( P>0.05). Both groups significantly improved their exercise tolerance and Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ-SR) results, with between-group differences approaching statistical significance for CRQ-dyspnea and CRQ-emotion, in favor of the intervention. The “Ready for Home” survey revealed that patients receiving the intervention reported feeling better able to arrange their life to cope with COPD, knew when to seek help about feeling unwell, and more often took their medications as prescribed, compared to usual care ( P<0.05).


          SPACE for COPD did not reduce readmission rates at 3 months above that of usual care. However, encouraging results were seen in secondary outcomes for those receiving the intervention. Importantly, SPACE for COPD appears to be safe and may help prevent readmission with 30 days.

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          Measurement of health status. Ascertaining the minimal clinically important difference.

          In recent years quality of life instruments have been featured as primary outcomes in many randomized trials. One of the challenges facing the investigator using such measures is determining the significance of any differences observed, and communicating that significance to clinicians who will be applying the trial results. We have developed an approach to elucidating the significance of changes in score in quality of life instruments by comparing them to global ratings of change. Using this approach we have established a plausible range within which the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) falls. In three studies in which instruments measuring dyspnea, fatigue, and emotional function in patients with chronic heart and lung disease were applied the MCID was represented by mean change in score of approximately 0.5 per item, when responses were presented on a seven point Likert scale. Furthermore, we have established ranges for changes in questionnaire scores that correspond to moderate and large changes in the domains of interest. This information will be useful in interpreting questionnaire scores, both in individuals and in groups of patients participating in controlled trials, and in the planning of new trials.
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            Development of a shuttle walking test of disability in patients with chronic airways obstruction.

            The aim was to develop a standardised and externally paced field walking test, incorporating an incremental and progressive structure, to assess functional capacity in patients with chronic airways obstruction. The usefulness of two different shuttle walking test protocols was examined in two separate groups of patients. The initial 10 level protocol (group A, n = 10) and a subsequent, modified, 12 level protocol (group B, n = 10) differed in the number of increments and in the speeds of walking. Patients performed three shuttle walking tests one week apart. Then the performance of patients (group C, n = 15) in the six minute walking test was compared with that in the second (modified) shuttle walking test protocol. Heart rate was recorded during all the exercise tests with a short range telemetry device. The 12 level modified protocol provided a measure of functional capacity in patients with a wide range of disability and was reproducible after just one practice walk; the mean difference between trial 2 v 3 was -2.0 (95% CI -21.9 to 17.9) m. There was a significant relation between the distance walked in the six minute walking test and the shuttle walking test (rho = 0.68) but the six minute walking test appeared to overestimate the extent of disability in some patients. The shuttle test provoked a graded cardiovascular response not evident in the six minute test. Moreover, the maximal heart rates attained were significantly higher for the shuttle walking test than for the six minute test. The shuttle walking test constitutes a standardised incremental field walking test that provokes a symptom limited maximal performance. It provides an objective measurement of disability and allows direct comparison of patients' performance.
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              The minimal important difference of the hospital anxiety and depression scale in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

              Background Interpretation of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), commonly used to assess anxiety and depression in COPD patients, is unclear. Since its minimal important difference has never been established, our aim was to determine it using several approaches. Methods 88 COPD patients with FEV1 ≤ 50% predicted completed the HADS and other patient-important outcome measures before and after an inpatient respiratory rehabilitation. For the anchor-based approach we determined the correlation between the HADS and the anchors that have an established minimal important difference (Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire [CRQ] and Feeling Thermometer). If correlations were ≥ 0.5 we performed linear regression analyses to predict the minimal important difference from the anchors. As distribution-based approach we used the Effect Size approach. Results Based on CRQ emotional function and mastery domain as well as on total scores, the minimal important difference was 1.41 (95% CI 1.18–1.63) and 1.57 (1.37–1.76) for the HADS anxiety score and 1.68 (1.48–1.87) and 1.60 (1.38–1.82) for the HADS total score. Correlations of the HADS depression score and CRQ domain and Feeling Thermometer scores were < 0.5. Based on the Effect Size approach the MID of the HADS anxiety and depression score was 1.32 and 1.40, respectively. Conclusion The minimal important difference of the HADS is around 1.5 in COPD patients corresponding to a change from baseline of around 20%. It can be used for the planning and interpretation of trials.

                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
                02 June 2016
                : 11
                : 1161-1169
                [1 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry, UK
                [2 ]Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry, UK
                [3 ]Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
                [4 ]Centre for Exercise and Rehabilitation Science, Glenfield Hospital, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence: S Singh, Centre for Exercise and Rehabilitation Science, Leicester Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Glenfield Hospital, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Groby Road, Leicester LE3 9QP, UK, Tel +44 116 258 3652, Fax +44 116 250 2743, Email vicki.johnson@
                © 2016 Johnson-Warrington 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.

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