Educational topics and their rationale for inclusion within pulmonary rehabilitation – a systematic review

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Objective: To identify the scope of educational topics within pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) for people with chronic respiratory diseases and determine their rationale for inclusion. Methods: Four electronic databases were searched, with data extracted and assessed for quality by two reviewers using the Downs and Black tool or the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme checklist. Results: Twenty-one studies of variable quality were included. In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), common education topics included disease pathophysiology, medications, psychological support, strategies for breathlessness, role of exercise and recognition of acute exacerbations, while less frequent topics included end-of-life planning, disease impact on sexual relationships and comorbidities. In interstitial lung disease (ILD), topics focused upon disease pathophysiology, approaches to limit disease progression, symptom management and end-of-life care. Evidence of a rationale for including education topics in PR were often lacking, but focused on recommended guidelines and information to improve self-management. Conclusion: A core range of educational topics based broadly upon clinical presentation and management strategies appear to be incorporated into PR for people with COPD. Topics for people with ILD appear to be selected according to patient need. Practice Implications: The topics identified in this review may help clinicians seeking to develop educational resources for PR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1997-2008
Number of pages12
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • chronic respiratory disease
  • education
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • self-management

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