The effect of pulmonary rehabilitation on perceptions of breathlessness and activity in COPD patients: A qualitative study
Aim: The aim of this study was to explore, using qualitative research methods, how pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programmes affect the experience of activity and breathlessness of people with COPD. Methods: A qualitative, interview-based approach was employed. Participants were interviewed pre- and post-PR. Data were analysed using systematic strategies informed by grounded theory methods. Results: Nine participants (three female) took part. A change in participants' perception of breathlessness and lessening of fear of activity were the main themes identified. PR appeared to impact on the experience of physical social activities, allowing participants to overcome feelings of social isolation. Conclusions: Prior to PR, participants associated activities with breathlessness and panic; post PR, participants reported reduced fear and felt able to increase their activities. These findings add to our understanding of the impact of PR on individuals' experience of activity and may contribute to improved programmes by addressing patients' needs. © 2010 Primary Care Respiratory Society UK. All rights reserved.