How to live with COPD: patient's perception.

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The aim of this study is to determine the mental model that patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) have about their illness analyzed by the Leventhal's Common Sense of Self-Regulation Model. An exploratory-descriptive study using qualitative methodology was performed. We included COPD-diagnosed patients attending three urban and a rural primary care centres. We used video-taped group interviews and transcribed them using Atlas.Ti 5.2 program. 22 group interviews (2009 - 2011) and 58 patients were included. There were 3 additional sessions to final inform validation. The results show that patients did not have a defined mental model about COPD: this disease was insufficiently recognized; diagnosis was made in exacerbations and it was confused with other diseases; the cause of illness was related to tobacco consumption and to "something else": fumes, colds and hard work. Patients tended to minimize their symptoms and limitations. Participants had wrong beliefs about colds, smoking only a few cigarettes effects and damage of inhaled treatment. Emotions as despair, resignation and fear were reported. We conclude that COPD patients showed confusion about many aspects of the disease (causes, symptoms, treatments). It was difficult to identify a mental model of the disease among COPD patients.
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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Cognition, Qualitative Research, Obstructive pulmonary-disease, Quality-of-life, Patients illness perceptions, Randomized controlled-trial, Lung-function decline, Occupational exposures, Care, Questionnaire, Population, Depression