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Do patients and carers agree on symptom burden in advanced COPD?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Emma Mi, Ella Mi, Patrick Thomas White, Morag Catriona Farquhar, gail ewing

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969-976
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Volume13
Early online date21 Mar 2018
E-pub ahead of print21 Mar 2018
Published21 Mar 2018

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COPD

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Abstract

Plain language summary
Patients with COPD are affected by many symptoms such as breathlessness and tiredness in their day-to-day life. Family and friends (informal carers) often have to help manage these symptoms and decide when to get medical help. We wanted to find out whether patients and their carers agree in their judgments of the patient’s symptoms and what factors are associated with better or worse agreement as this may influence how well symptoms are managed, given the carer’s role in this. One hundred and nineteen patients and their carers separately rated how much the patient was bothered by six common symptoms in COPD. Agreement between patients and carers was worse for less obvious symptoms such as depression, fatigue, anxiety and breathlessness than constipation and diarrhea. Carers who said that their patient had more problematic symptoms than the patients themselves tended to have a non-spousal relationship with and live apart from their patient, be symptomatically anxious or depressed themselves and have more unmet support needs. Patients reporting a greater symptom burden than their carer reported for them were younger and had COPD for longer. Our results suggest clinicians should seek opinions about symptoms from both the patient and their carer, promote shared understanding between patients and carers, and screen for mental health problems in both and unmet support needs in carers.

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