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Original article

Vol. 147 No. 4950 (2017)

Feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of integrated care for COPD patients: a mixed methods evaluation of a pilot community-based programme

DOI
https://doi.org/10.4414/smw.2017.14567
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2017;147:w14567
Published
06.12.2017

Abstract

QUESTION UNDER STUDY

The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of a pilot COPD integrated care programme implemented in Valais, Switzerland.

METHODS

The programme was adapted from the self-management programme Living Well with COPD, and included the following elements: self-management patient-education group sessions, telephone and medical follow-ups, multidisciplinary teams, training of healthcare professionals, and evidence-based COPD care. A process and outcome evaluation of the pilot phase of the programme was conducted by means of qualitative and quantitative methods. Reach (coverage, participation rates), dosage (interventions carried out), fidelity (delivered as intended) and stakeholders’ acceptance of the programme were evaluated through data monitoring and conduct of focus groups with patients and healthcare professionals. Effectiveness was assessed with pre-post analyses (before and after the intervention). The primary outcome measures were; (1) generic and disease-specific quality of life (36-Item Short Form Health Survey, Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire); and (2) hospitalisations (all-cause and for acute exacerbations) in the past 12 months. Secondary outcomes included self-efficacy, number of exacerbations and exercise capacity. Finally, controlled pre-post comparisons were also made with patients from the Swiss COPD Cohort for three common outcome measures (dyspnoea [mMRC score], number of exacerbations and smoking status).

RESULTS

During the first 2 years of the programme, eight series of group-based education sessions were delivered to 57 patients with COPD in three different locations of the canton of Valais. Coverage objectives were achieved and attendance rate at the education sessions was high (83.6%). Patients’ and healthcare professionals’ reported a high degree of satisfaction, except for multidisciplinarity and transfer of information. Exploration of the effectiveness of this pilot programme suggested positive pre-post results at 12 months, with improvements in terms of health-related quality of life, self-efficacy, exercise capacity, immunisation coverage and Patient Assessment of Chronic Illness Care score. No other outcome, including the number of hospital admissions, differed significantly after 12 months. We observed no differences from the control group.

CONCLUSIONS

The evaluation demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of the programme and confirmed the relevance of mixed method process evaluation to adjust and improve programme implementation. The introduction of multidisciplinary teams in a context characterised by fragmentation of care was identified as the main challenge in the programme implementation and could not be achieved as expected. Despite this area for improvement, patients’ feedback and early effectiveness results confirmed the benefits of COPD integrated care programmes emphasising self-management education.

Trial registration number

ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier NCT02001922.

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