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Palliat Support Care. 2014 Jun;12(3):189-94. doi: 10.1017/S1478951512001095. Epub 2013 May 10.

Breathlessness in everyday life from a patient perspective: a qualitative study using diaries.

Author information

1
Department of Primary Health Care, Institute of Medicine,University of Gothenburg,Gothenburg,Sweden.
2
School of Social and Health Sciences,Halmstad University,Halmstad,Sweden.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Breathlessness is a subjective symptom, which makes it difficult to define and understand. The aim of the present study was to illuminate how patients suffering from breathlessness experience their everyday life.

METHOD:

The study was a qualitative study, and the focus of the analysis was the patients' descriptions of their experiences of breathlessness using a diary with two unstructured questions for a period of 7 consecutive days. Sixteen participants: 7 men, mean age 65 ± 7 (range 55-73 years old), and 9 women, mean age 65 ± 9 (range 50-72 years old) participated in the study.

RESULTS:

Two themes emerged from the analysis: 1) Impaired quality of life and 2) symptom tolerance and adaptation. The theme "impaired quality of life" included the categories limited physical ability, psychological burdens, and social life barriers. The theme "symptom tolerance and adaptation" included importance of health care, social support, hobbies and leisure activities, and coping strategies.

SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS:

The findings in our study showed that patients, in spite of considerable difficulties with shortness of breath, found relief in several types of activities, in addition to drug therapy. The result indicates that the "biopsychosocial model" is an appealing approach that should be discussed further to gain a better understanding of breathlessness.

PMID:
23659796
DOI:
10.1017/S1478951512001095
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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