Aims: To gain an understanding of patients perspectives and perceptions of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at the time of diagnosis.
Methods: A qualitative study using grounded theory. Ten patients in primary care in Sweden, newly diagnosed with COPD or with suspected COPD, were interviewed.
Results: The analysis created a process model with a core category "Consequences of smoking" and main categories "Shame", "Appearance of symptoms", "Adaptation", "Reflection", and "Action". "Restrictions in physical capacity" was a key indicator of evolving disease and "Getting a diagnosis" was crucial for the patient.
Conclusions: The COPD patient needs a clear diagnosis at an early stage. It is important to seize the opportunity when the presumptive COPD patient is receptive towards support and further action. To detect and support the patient, health professionals must be aware of minor symptoms and underlying mechanisms of possible shame.