Support needs of patients with COPD: a systematic literature search and narrative review

A. Carole Gardener, Gail Ewing, Isla Kuhn, Morag Farquhar

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Introduction: Understanding the breadth of patients’ support needs is important for the delivery of person-centered care, particularly in progressive long-term conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Existing reviews identify important aspects of managing life with COPD with which patients may need support (support needs); however, none of these comprehensively outlines the full range of support needs that patients can experience. We therefore sought to systematically determine the full range of support needs for patients with COPD to inform development of an evidence-based tool to enable person-centered care.

Methods: We conducted a systematic search and narrative review of the literature. Medline (Ovid), EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, and CINAHL were systematically searched for papers which included data addressing key aspects of support need, as identified by patients with COPD. Relevant data were extracted, and a narrative analysis was conducted.

Results: Thirty-one papers were included in the review, and the following 13 domains (broad areas) of support need were identified: 1) understanding COPD, 2) managing symptoms and medication, 3) healthy lifestyle, 4) managing feelings and worries, 5) living positively with COPD, 6) thinking about the future, 7) anxiety and depression, 8) practical support, 9) finance work and housing, 10) families and close relationships, 11) social and recreational life, 12) independence, and 13) navigating services. These 13 domains of support need were mapped to three of the four overarching categories of need commonly used in relevant national strategy documents (ie, physical, psychological, and social); however, support needs related to the fourth category (spiritual) were notably absent.

Conclusion: This review systematically identifies the comprehensive set of domains of support need for patients with COPD. The findings provide the evidence base for a tool to help patients identify and express their support needs, which underpins a proposed intervention to enable the delivery of person-centered care: the Support Needs Approach for Patients (SNAP).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1035
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2018


  • COPD
  • person-centered care
  • support needs

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