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COPD self-management programme tested for community

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Researchers are exploring whether a successful training programme delivered one-to-one by clinicians to help people self-manage their chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be as effective when applied to small groups in the community.

The programme, developed by University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, covers a range of topics including medication, breathing control and nutrition. Participants are also encouraged to set goals and embark on an exercise regime.

Evaluation of the Self-Management Programme of Activity, Coping and Education programme – also known as ‘SPACE for COPD’ – found it helped people manage their symptoms, with evidence of sustained changes after six months when delivered one-to-one.

Meanwhile an economic analysis – published in the European Respiratory Journal last year – found the intervention cost more than routine primary care but was more effective.

“Our programme is designed to help people with COPD by providing them with essential support and guidance to enable them to better self-manage the condition”

Professor Sally Singh

It concluded the programme was cost-effective within the parameters recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Project lead Professor Sally Singh, head of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation at the trust, said these findings had been “hugely encouraging”.

“Managing the day-to-day symptoms of COPD can be challenging for the individual and requires a broad range of skills,” she said.

“Our programme is designed to help people with COPD by providing them with essential support and guidance to enable them to better self-manage the condition.

“The findings from this economic evaluation were hugely encouraging because they demonstrated that ‘SPACE for COPD’ was cost-effective compared to routine care and, importantly, patients really valued the intervention,” she added.

Now a new study led by the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East Midlands is looking at the effectiveness of the programme when delivered to small groups of people in venues near their homes.

Sessions are delivered in community centres, village halls and council buildings by two professionals – a combination of pulmonary rehabilitation physiotherapists, a respiratory specialist nurse and a health psychologist.

This latest research project is due to be completed by August next year with results available by September.

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