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“My life is not going to be the same, my health is going to improve”: a cross-sectional qualitative study of patients’ experiences of living with chronic respiratory symptoms and their views on a proposed pulmonary rehabilitation program at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi

Bickton, Fanuel Meckson; Mankhokwe, Talumba; Mitengo, Martha; Limbani, Felix; Shannon, Harriet; Rylance, Jamie; Chisati, Enock; (2022) “My life is not going to be the same, my health is going to improve”: a cross-sectional qualitative study of patients’ experiences of living with chronic respiratory symptoms and their views on a proposed pulmonary rehabilitation program at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi. Wellcome Open Research , 7 , Article 70. 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17702.1. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Malawi’s population has a substantial burden of chronic respiratory symptoms. Elsewhere, patients with these symptoms have benefited from pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), a program of exercise training, education, and behaviour management. Practically, PR in Malawi may not be delivered in the same format as elsewhere due to substantial contextual differences. These differences necessitate adaptation of the intervention to Malawi’s setting to be acceptable and effective. This study explored patients’ experiences of living with chronic respiratory symptoms and their views on a proposed PR program at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi, to inform the design of an individualized and culturally adapted PR program. Methods: This was a cross-sectional qualitative study. Face-to-face, one-to-one semi-structured in-depth interviews were undertaken to data saturation. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and Chichewa transcripts were translated into English. The transcripts were anonymized and thematically analysed using an inductive approach. Results: We recruited 10 patients (five males and five females) with functionally limiting chronic respiratory symptoms, with documented causes including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, post-tuberculosis lung disease, and bronchiectasis. Symptoms most frequently included dyspnoea, with associated functional limitations including the reduced performance of activities of daily living. Participants’ coping strategies most frequently included the use of inhalers. Participants were motivated to undertake the PR program owing to its anticipated benefits including improved health. They perceived transport costs and competing commitments as barriers to participation. The participant group gender mix and public nature of the program were considered socio-culturally sensitive by some participants. Conclusions: The functionally limiting dyspnoea most frequently experienced by the study participants would be amenable to a PR program. To ensure participation by eligible patients, pre-program assessments should consider patient access to transport, suitability of the timing for the program’s sessions, and patient views on organizational aspects of the program considered social-culturally sensitive.

Type: Article
Title: “My life is not going to be the same, my health is going to improve”: a cross-sectional qualitative study of patients’ experiences of living with chronic respiratory symptoms and their views on a proposed pulmonary rehabilitation program at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17702.1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17702.1
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright: © 2022 BICKTON FM et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Chronic respiratory symptoms, pulmonary rehabilitation, adaptation, qualitative research, Malawi
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Dept
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10144675
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