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What are the benefits of using self-management plans for COPD patients in the community: a critical review of the literature

02 January 2023
Volume 28 · Issue 1


The use of self-management plans in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to help patients with this disease manage their own health and recognise any signs and symptoms of an exacerbation.


To critically appraise the literature to assess the benefits of self-management plans in COPD patients in the community setting.


A total of eight papers were included in this review: three qualitative and five randomised control trials (RCT), with one being a pilot study. The statistical significance of using COPD self-management plans was minimal. However, when exploring subsections of some of the trials, there was some data suggesting there was some health-related quality of life improvement.


Further research is required to gain a valuable perspective from individual patients in regards to what they want to be included in a management plan and how this can be implemented into practice.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a disease of the airways that affects around 65 million people worldwide (World Health Organization, (WHO), 2020). The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) (2022) defines COPD as a preventable and treatable condition that causes persistent respiratory symptoms and airflow obstruction. An abnormal inflammatory response to noxious gases and particles can be a catalyst for this condition (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2018). The NHS is estimated to spend a total of £1.9 billion each year on COPD-related issues (NHS England, 2022); this is not accounting for the burden of the patient in the form of missed work, social isolation, psychological impact and the inability to maintain a good quality of life (QOL). Sargent and Boden (2006) indicated that proactive care, including self-management, are pivotal in the success of managing patients with COPD. Benefits include raising self-awareness and self-efficacy, which can hopefully reduce some of the costs faced by the patient.

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