Why do people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease repeat pulmonary rehabilitation? Perspectives of patients and health professionals

Shannon Storey, Bircan Erbas, Anne Elizabeth Holland

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Many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) undertake pulmonary rehabilitation more than once. This study examined patient experiences and health professional perspectives regarding repeating pulmonary rehabilitation. Participants were 14 patients with COPD and 15 health professionals. Patients had undertaken pulmonary rehabilitation at a tertiary hospital; health professionals were doctors, physiotherapists, and nurses. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Patients described improved fitness and better breathing after repeating pulmonary rehabilitation; however, some also reported that repeating required confronting their disease progression. Improved confidence and motivation were an important outcome of repeating. Although most participants had attended community-based exercise classes, they valued the greater intensity of exercise and closer supervision that came with repeating pulmonary rehabilitation. Health professionals reported referring patients to repeat pulmonary rehabilitation if they had worsening functional capacity, an exacerbation, or hospitalization. There was no agreement regarding the optimal time for repeating and many would only re-refer if the patient demonstrated motivation to attend. In conclusion, patients with COPD reported many symptomatic benefits from repeating pulmonary rehabilitation and gained confidence from a supervised program. There was no agreement between health professionals regarding the optimal time to repeat pulmonary rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalChronic Respiratory Disease
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic obstructive
  • Pulmonary disease
  • qualitative study
  • quality of life

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