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Support needs of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): a systematic literature search and narrative review

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Gardener, A Carole 



Understanding the breadth of patients’ support needs is important for the delivery of person-centred care, particularly in progressive long-term conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Existing reviews identify important aspects of managing life with COPD with which patients may need support (support needs), however none of these comprehensively outlines the full range of support needs patients can experience. We therefore sought to systematically determine the full range of support needs for patients with COPD to inform development of an evidence-based tool to enable person-centred care.

Material and Methods

We conducted a systematic search and narrative review of the literature. Medline (Ovid), EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, and CINAHL were systematically searched for papers which included data addressing key aspects of support need, as identified by patients with COPD. Relevant data was extracted and a narrative analysis conducted.


Thirty-one papers were included in the review and thirteen domains (broad areas) of support need identified: (1) understanding COPD, (2) managing symptoms and medication, (3) healthy lifestyle, (4) managing feelings and worries, (5) living positively with COPD, (6) thinking about the future, (7) anxiety and depression, (8) practical support, (9) finance work and housing, (10) families and close relationships, (11) social and recreational life, (12) independence, and (13) navigating services. These thirteen domains of support need were mapped to three of four overarching categories of need commonly used in relevant national strategy documents (ie physical, psychological, and social), however support needs related to the fourth category (spiritual) were notably absent.


This review systematically identifies the comprehensive set of domains of support need for patients with COPD. The findings provide the evidence-base for a tool to help patients identify and express their support needs, which underpins a proposed intervention to enable delivery of person-centred care: the Support Needs Approach for Patients (SNAP).



COPD, person-centred care, support needs

Journal Title

International journal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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Dove Medical Press
TCC (None)
This paper presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Primary Care Research (NIHR SPCR). MF was funded by a National Institute for Health Research Career Development Fellowship (grant number: CDF-2012-05-218).