Facilitators and Barriers of Adherence to Multi-Disease Exacerbation Action Plans in COPD Patients - A Qualitative Study

J. Schrijver*, T. Effing, M. Brusse-Keizer, J. van der Palen, P. van der Valk, A. Lenferink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Whereas exacerbation action plans to self-manage Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) significantly improve health outcomes, patients' adherence to those action plans is often poor. This study aimed to identify facilitators and barriers of adherence to tailored multi-disease exacerbation action plans. We also explored patients' perspectives toward disease management roles. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of COPD patients who completed a Dutch-Australian self-management intervention evaluating tailored exacerbation action plans for COPD and relevant comorbidities. Interviews were thematically analyzed using a deductive approach guided by the Capability, Opportunity and Motivation of Behavior (COM-B) model. In 2016, ten patients (5 Australian; 5 Dutch; 6 men; age 59-83 years) were interviewed at the end of their one-year follow-up. Facilitators of adherence included improved patients' comprehension of disease and treatment, positive feelings about the intervention, improved self-confidence, and professional support. Barriers included difficulties to recognize symptoms, dislike toward daily symptom monitoring, negative feelings about the intervention, negative mood state, and complexity of symptom diaries and action plans. Patients indicated three distinctive perspectives of their own and their healthcare professional's role in their disease management: 1) patients felt mainly responsible; 2) patients felt shared responsibility with their healthcare professional; and 3) patients felt not responsible as they perceived their healthcare professional to be mainly responsible. We successfully used the COM-B model as a guide to identify facilitators and barriers of patients' adherence to multi-disease exacerbation action plans. Improving patients' adherence in future self-management interventions by targeting specific facilitators or barriers should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-273
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023


  • adherence
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • disease management
  • exacerbations
  • qualitative research
  • self-treatment
  • UT-Gold-D


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