Introduction and Objectives The patient experience is an important component of the quality of care. The objective of this survey was to explore the experiences of patients who were admitted to hospital with an exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Methods Patients were asked about their last hospital admission for COPD using a 14-item, self-administered questionnaire. They were approached through Breathe Easy groups, the British Lung Foundation website and a commercial market research panel
Results 307 COPD patients responded to the survey of whom 83% were aged ≥56 years; 89% had established COPD (diagnosed >12 months), and 39% had been admitted to hospital within the last 12 months. Only 45% were aware that “exacerbation” had been the cause of their admission. 56% had ≥24 h notice of illness prior to admission and 43% initiated the admission themselves, without contacting a health care professional (HCP). Only 25% patients felt ‘very’ confident that they were ready for their hospital discharge and 26% in their ability to cope at home. 34% patients felt very well informed about their COPD, the reasons for admission and their ability to identify early signs of an exacerbation. Only 37% were very reassured at receiving adequate support at home and only 24% were very positive about the future. 75% patients wanted more information regarding the reasons for their admission, 80% on treatment choices, 68% on COPD patient organisations, 78% on HPC support available at home and 69% on lifestyle, social and other coping problems. More contact from HCP support services and support via a telephone helpline were also requested (75% and 64%, respectively). Despite this, 60% felt ‘very’ confident about how and when to take their medications.
Conclusions Hospital admission remains a significant risk to patients with established COPD, especially if they have had previous admissions. Data suggest that many patients feel unready for hospital discharge and are poorly prepared for the future management of their COPD. Hospital admission should be taken as an opportunity to provide patients with more information on COPD and available support services.
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Funding The survey was supported by an educational grant from Nycomed.