Exploring transitions in care from pulmonary rehabilitation to home for persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A descriptive qualitative study
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BACKGROUND: Individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often experience high health-care utilization following pulmonary rehabilitation, suggesting suboptimal transitions to home. OBJECTIVE: To understand the experiences of persons with COPD and health-care professionals regarding transitions from pulmonary rehabilitation to home, including factors impacting these transitions. DESIGN: A descriptive qualitative study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Health-care professionals working at, and persons with COPD who attended, an inpatient or outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation programme at one large, urban health-care centre. The centre is located in Ontario, Canada. MAIN VARIABLE STUDIED: Experiences of participants with care transitions between pulmonary rehabilitation and home. Semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analysed. RESULTS: Ten patients and eight health-care professionals participated. Four main themes were identified around the overall experiences with pulmonary rehabilitation and transitions to home: (a) pulmonary rehabilitation as a safe environment; (b) pulmonary rehabilitation as a highly structured environment; (c) contrasting perceptions of the role of pulmonary rehabilitation; and (d) dependency on pulmonary rehabilitation programmes. Persons with COPD and health-care professionals identified three key factors that influenced this transition: (a) patients' social support, (b) application of self-management strategies prior to discharge, and (c) patients' physical and mental health. CONCLUSION: Participants agreed that some patients with COPD experienced suboptimal transitions from pulmonary rehabilitation to home that were characterized by suboptimal self-management. Further research is needed to develop and evaluate interventions to improve transitions. Such interventions should include strategies to elicit long-term behaviour change to assist patients when they return into the community.
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