“This is What Lies Ahead”. Perspectives of Oxygen-Naïve COPD Patients on Long-Term Oxygen Use. A Qualitative Study

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International Journal of COPD


Purpose: Oxygen is commonly prescribed to patients with severe COPD. However, little is known about the perspectives COPD patients, who do not yet use oxygen, have on this treatment. Patients and Methods: A total of 14 oxygen-naïve patients with COPD Gold stages 3–4 and a high symptom burden participated in semi-structured interviews, in which their beliefs and expectations regarding oxygen therapy were explored. We used conventional content analysis to process our qualitative data. Results: Four main themes were identified: seeking information, expected impact on quality of life, expected social impact and stigma, and last phase of life. Conclusion: The message that home oxygen should be started, was regarded as bad news by most participants. The rationale behind the therapy and the way it is delivered were unknown to most participants. Some participants anticipated smoking-related stigma and social isolation. Misconceptions such as tank explosions, becoming housebound, full dependency on oxygen and an imminent death were common amongst interviewees. Clinicians should be aware of these fears and assumptions when communicating with patients on this subject.

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