Educational programmes in COPD management interventions: a systematic review

Respir Med. 2013 Nov;107(11):1637-50. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2013.08.006. Epub 2013 Sep 4.


Background: According to practice guidelines, educational programmes for patients with COPD should address several educational topics. Which topics are incorporated in the existing programmes remains unclear.

Objectives: To delineate educational topics integrated in current COPD management interventions; and to examine strengths, weaknesses, and methods of delivery of the educational programmes.

Data sources: A systematic literature search was performed using MEDLINE/PubMed, Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Clinical Trials, and Web of Science. The authors of included studies were contacted for additional information.

Study selection: Studies that contained educational programmes incorporated in COPD management interventions were included.

Data extraction: Data were extracted using a pre-designed data form. The Reach, Efficacy, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework was used for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the programmes.

Data synthesis: In total, 81 articles, describing 67 interventions were included. The majority (53.8%) of the studies incorporated 10 or more educational topics. The following topics were frequently addressed: smoking cessation (80.0%); medication (76.9%); exercise (72.3%); breathing strategies (70.8%); exacerbations (69.2%); and stress management (67.7%). Printed material and/or brochure (90.5%) and demonstrations and practice (73.8%), were the predominant tool and method, respectively. Nurses (75.8%), physicians (37.9%) and physiotherapists (34.8%) were the most involved healthcare professionals.

Conclusions: Heterogeneity and wide variation in the content and the method of delivery of educational interventions were present. Alignment between educational topics incorporated in the existing programmes and those recommended by the COPD guidelines, involvement of various professionals and combined use of methods should be emphasised.

Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Educational topics; Patient education; Patient engagement; Pulmonary rehabilitation; Self-management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Program Evaluation
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Self Care / methods