COPD Education Program Improved Patient Knowledge of Disease

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Person filling out a form on a clipboard
There was as significant change in Bristol COPD Knowledge Questionnaire scores in patients who received a brief education program at the time of an acute exacerbation of COPD.

A brief education program delivered at the time of hospitalization for an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) improved disease-specific knowledge in patients, according to the results of a study published in CHEST.

Tania Janaudis-Ferreira, PhD, of the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University and the Translational Research in Respiratory Diseases Program, McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and colleagues randomly assigned patients who were admitted to a community hospital with an acute exacerbation of COPD to a control group, which received standard care, or an intervention group, which received standard care plus a brief education session in a pilot study to determine whether patients could assimilate disease-specific information during an acute exacerbation of COPD.

Patients in the intervention group received two 30-minute education sessions. The first session occurred in the hospital within 7 days of admission or at home following discharge, and the second took place within 2 weeks of hospital admission. The investigators measured disease-specific knowledge and information needs using the Bristol COPD Knowledge Questionnaire and the Lung Information Needs Questionnaire, respectively, before and after the intervention period.

A total of 31 patients with an acute exacerbation of COPD participated in the study: 15 were randomly assigned to the intervention and all of those completed the follow-up measures; 3 patients in the control group did not complete those measures. The mean change for the Bristol COPD Knowledge Questionnaire in the intervention and control groups was 8 and 3.4, respectively (P =.02). No significant difference was found between the groups for the Lung Information Needs Questionnaire (P =.8).

The majority of the patients in the intervention group (14 of 15) indicated that the program should be delivered to all patients with an acute exacerbation of COPD, and 13 indicated that no changes were necessary to improve the program. Of the 2 participants who suggested changes, one suggested decreasing the session time and the other suggested increasing the number of questions.

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The authors noted that the greatest change in knowledge in participants in the intervention group was regarding the use of oral steroid medication. The authors felt that highlighted the need for improved understanding of prescribed medications on the part of patients. They also suggested that self-management education may be a bridge to more active rehabilitation approaches once patients have recovered from the acute exacerbation of COPD.


Janaudis-Ferreira T, Carr SJ, Harrison SL, et al. Can patients with COPD assimilate disease-specific information during an acute exacerbation? Results of a pilot randomized trial [published online June 4, 2018]. CHEST. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2018.05.028