Primary and secondary care clinicians’ views on self-treatment of COPD exacerbations: A multinational qualitative study
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OBJECTIVE: To explore clinicians' views on antibiotic and/or steroid 'rescue packs' used as self-treatment for patients with exacerbations of COPD. METHODS: 21 focus groups conducted in 7 countries--Netherlands, Russia, Norway, China (Hong Kong), Wales, Germany and Poland involving 142 primary care clinicians and pulmonologists. RESULTS: We found wide variation in reported use of and attitudes to self-treatment among GPs and pulmonologists in the participating countries. Clinicians highlighted the importance of identifying patients who were most likely to benefit (those with more severe disease) and most likely to use the treatment appropriately (demonstrated by previous behaviour), and the importance of adequate patient education and ongoing communication in regard to use of self-treatment packs. Clinicians recognised patient empowerment and facilitating prompt treatment as potential benefits of self-treatment. However, many felt they did not have the time or resources for appropriate patient selection and education. CONCLUSION: Clinicians do not feel it is appropriate to offer self-treatment rescue packs to all patients routinely without careful consideration of patient understanding of their illness and their capacity for self-management. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Adequate resources and continuity of patient care are required for clinicians to feel confident in the safe and effective implementation of this strategy.
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