Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary and cost-effective intervention that leads to improved health in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD. However, the availability of PR programs varies between and within different countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the availability and content of hospital-based PR programs in patients with COPD in Sweden. A cross-sectional descriptive design was applied using a web-based questionnaire which was sent out to all hospitals in Sweden. The questionnaire consisted of 32 questions that concerned availability and content of PR in patients with COPD during 2011. Seventy out of 71 hospitals responded the electronic survey. Forty-six (66%) hospitals offered PR for patients with COPD. Around 75% of the hospitals in southern and middle parts of Sweden and 33% of the hospitals in the northern part offered PR. Thirty-four percent of the patients declined participation. A total number of 1355 patients participated in PR which represents 0.2% of the COPD population in Sweden. All hospitals had exercise training as major component and 76% offered an educational program. Not even half a percent of the patients with COPD in Sweden took part in a hospital-based PR program during 2011. There was a considerable geographic discrepancy in availability over the country. To enable a greater part of the increasing number of patients with COPD to take part in this evidence-based treatment, there is a need of evaluating other settings of PR programs; in primary care, at home and/or over the internet.
Keywords: COPD; Pulmonary rehabilitation; Survey study.
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