BACKGROUND: Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is an important, evidence-based component for the management of individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In daily practice, the majority of COPD patients are treated in primary care. However, information about the availability of PR in primary care in Sweden is lacking. The aim was to investigate the availability of rehabilitation resources in primary care settings for patients with COPD in Sweden.
METHODS: A cross-sectional descriptive design was applied, using web-based questionnaires sent to all primary care centres in four regions, comprising more than half of the 9.6 million inhabitants of Sweden. The main questionnaire included questions about the content and availability of rehabilitation resources for COPD patients. PR was defined as exercise training and one or more of the following activities: education, nutritional intervention, energy conservation techniques or psychosocial support.
RESULTS: A total of 381 (55.9%) of the 682 primary care centres answered the main questionnaire. In addition to physicians and nurses, availability of healthcare professionals for rehabilitation in primary care settings was physiotherapists 92.0%, occupational therapists 91.9%, dieticians 83.9% and social workers or psychologists 98.4%. At 23.7% of all centres, PR was not available to COPD patients - neither in primary care nor at hospitals.
CONCLUSION: Despite high availability of professionals for rehabilitation in primary care settings, about one-quarter of managers at primary care centres stated that their COPD patients had no access to PR. This indicates a need to structure resources for rehabilitation and to present and communicate the available resources within the healthcare system.
2016. Vol. 3