Introduction: This qualitative study aimed to explore the real life experience of the patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at the time they receive the diagnosis.
Methods: Data were collected using face to face interviews in general practice as well as focus groups in a pulmonary rehabilitation centre.
Results: Thirty-four patients participated in the study. Most of them were made aware of their disease by a pulmonologist during hospitalisation for an acute exacerbation. Several terms were used to name the disease including emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis and COPD (acronym often not explained). At the time of the announcement, patients expressed responses which included for some a sense of stupefaction associated with anxiety and for others guilt and an attitude of denial. If the need for smoking cessation was mentioned by doctors, a lack of information at the time of the announcement was general. The chronic and potentially serious aspects of COPD were not understood or rarely mentioned.
Conclusion: The announcement of the disease did not always appear to have been of good quality. Ideally, the diagnosis of COPD should be conveyed to people after its identification in a dedicated consultation, combined with better information and a proposal for psychological support.
Keywords: Annonce; Announcement; BPCO; COPD; Chronic disease; Denial; Déni; Maladie chronique; Qualitative study; Étude qualitative.
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