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Self-management of COPD

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It is considered good practice to involve patients in managing their own health. This is particularly true for long-term conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and heart failure.

People with long-term conditions such as these can suffer from high levels of morbidity. Therefore, it is important to encourage effective self-efficacy as much as possible. In this article, the reasons why people with COPD may find self-management useful and how clinicians can help them to get more involved in their care are discussed.

The Government has encouraged the concept of self-management for many years now with generic projects, such as the Expert Patient Programme, and tailored programmes, such as DESMOND for diabetes and pulmonary rehabilitation for people with COPD. Evidence suggests that people who feel more involved in their care and who show higher levels of mastery (defined as having a sound knowledge or skill in a subject) have better outcomes.1

COPD is a condition that affects the individual, their family, and society in general. In 2011, an international study, COPD Uncovered, came as a salutary reminder of the fact that many people of working age suffer from COPD, and this has the potential to significantly impact the social and financial wellbeing of the individual as well as society as a whole.2

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