The development of a helpline for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
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BACKGROUND: The goal of the helpline is to assist individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) better manage their disease through improved understanding of COPD, its symptoms and treatment. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this project was to develop and validate a protocol for a COPD helpline. METHODS: Ten key informants with expertise in helpline development or COPD were interviewed. Fifty individuals with COPD participated in content validation of the protocol. RESULTS: An initial protocol for the helpline aimed to provide: (1) information and education regarding COPD and its management via the telephone and with written materials; (2) guidance regarding course of management; (3) resource links to other support services and programs locally, provincially, and/or nationally; and (4) caring support and reassurance to those with COPD and their families. The majority of the calls from individuals with COPD sought medical information (74%) and required 36.6 +/- 14.5 min (range: 15-85) to complete. Many different topics were discussed, with medication and exercise being the most common. The availability of the call center was identified as one means of replacing information sought from other health care providers, mainly physicians and pulmonary rehabilitation staff. CONCLUSION: A protocol of a helpline for COPD has been developed based on the literature, theoretical knowledge, and input from key informants and individuals with COPD.
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