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COPD Self-Care Appears to Improve with Social Support

According to the recent study, “Association between Social Support and Self-Care Behaviors in Adults with Chronic Pulmonary Disease,” published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, individuals with COPD who live with others and have a caregiver have a higher rate of participating in pulmonary rehabilitation and being active.

The study focused on 282 patients with COPD to determine if the prevalence of social support impacts the decision to participate in healthy behaviors.

"Patient engagement in self-care is the crux of COPD management," said senior study author Huong Q. Nguyen, PhD, RN, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Southern California and an affiliate associate professor at the University of Washington. "Our goal with this study was to identify factors associated with self-care activities, including physical activity, quitting smoking, participating in a pulmonary rehabilitation program, adherence to medications, and getting influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations."

aug2017008Researchers recruited participants from two Veterans Administration hospitals, as well as two academic medical center who had been diagnosed with moderate to severe COPD. The study focused on the correlation between healthy behaviors and two social supports: “structural, the type of social network a person has such as being married or living with a partner or caregiver, and functional, the support a person perceives his/her social network provides.”

Based upon the findings, researchers discovered that participants who lived with other individuals reported having enhanced functional support. The higher their functional support was, the higher likelihood that they had a pneumococcal vaccination and were less inclined to smoke. Further, participants that lived with someone took more than 900 steps more than those who lived alone. Participants with a spouse, partner or caregiver were also 11 times more likely to receive pulmonary rehabilitation.

“Clinicians should assess whether their patients have the necessary social support to do all they can do to remain healthy, “said Nguyen. “When social support is lacking, the health care team should assist patients in marshalling social support. Similarly, health and social policies should acknowledge and consider ways to support the nearly 45 million unpaid family caregivers in the United States who are responsible for the vast majority of the day-to-day care of their loved ones."

Click Here to Access the Full Article on ScienceDaily

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