Living with COPD and co-existing conditions: Experiences of health care and implications for the design of acceptable and appropriate home-based tele-health systems

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Summary

This project is in collaboration with colleagues within SPHERE and CHLARC to examine behaviour change in long term conditions.  In the UK, an estimated 3.7 million people have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) and over three quarters of those are unaware that they have the condition. COPD is a term for a group of serious lung diseases that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema and small airways disease. Patients with COPD experience breathing difficulties, symptoms of shortness of breath, persistent coughing and marked restrictions of their activities of daily living. COPD usually worsens over time, but an early diagnosis and treatment plan can slow down the changes in people’s lungs. Providing management and support for the physical and psychological impacts of COPD can also improve an individual’s ability to self­manage their condition and reduce hospital stays. Current treatment plans for managing COPD are based on following clinical guidelines, however, these guidelines are primarily single-disease focused and do not adequately take into account the presence of coexisting conditions. COPD patients are inherently at high risk of developing coexisting conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis and muscle weakness.

Effectively managing COPD requires requires: (1) the routine screening and monitoring for symptoms of co­existing chronic conditionsÍž and (2) increasing healthcare professional’s abilities to access and share information in an effective and timely manner in order to coordinate the patients care. This study aims to identify elements of COPD care that an advanced home­based telehealth system can enhance, with a view of also identifying how care can be improved for patients with co­existing conditions. The aim is to inform the design and future evaluation of home­based telehealth technologies to support patients and professionals in the care of COPD. The end goal is to improve the overall quality of care and outcomes for patients through the application of home­based telehealth systems.

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