Predictors of increasing disability in activities of daily living among people with advanced respiratory disease: a multi-site prospective cohort study, England UK

Disabil Rehabil. 2023 Dec 10:1-10. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2023.2288673. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Disability in activities of daily living (ADL) is a common unmet need among people with advanced respiratory disease. Rehabilitation could help prolong independence, but indicators for timely intervention in this population are lacking. This study aimed to identify trajectories of disability in ADLs over time, and predicting factors, in advanced respiratory disease.

Method: Multi-site prospective cohort study in people with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or interstitial lung disease (ILD), recruited from hospital or community services, throughout England. Disability in basic (Barthel Index) and instrumental (Lawton-Brody IADL Scale) ADLs were assessed monthly over six months. Visual graphical analysis determined individual trajectories. Multivariate logistic regression examined predictors of increasing disability in basic and instrumental ADLs.

Findings: Between March 2020 and January 2021, we recruited participants with a diagnosis of NSCLC (n = 110), COPD (n = 72), and ILD (n = 19). 151 participants completed ≥3 timepoints and were included in the longitudinal analysis. Mobility limitation was an independent predictor of increasing disability in instrumental ADLs (odds ratio, 1⋅41 [CI: 1⋅14-1⋅74], p = 0⋅002).

Conclusion: Mobility limitation could be used as a simple referral criterion across people with advanced respiratory disease to ensure timely rehabilitation that targets independence in ADLs.

Keywords: Activities of daily living; advanced cancer; disability; palliative care; rehabilitation; respiratory disease.

Plain language summary

To our knowledge this is the first prospective cohort study of trajectories of disability in activities of daily living (ADL) in advanced respiratory disease, including recruitment during the Covid-19 pandemic.It adds to existing evidence by identifying individual variability in trajectories of ADL disability which are undetected at group level.The identification of mobility limitation as a predictor of increasing ADL disability, while controlling for malignant or non-malignant respiratory disease, is novel and has practical utility.Our findings have implications for clinical care, as early identification of functional decline through use of mobility limitation tools could flag early referral to rehabilitation services, potentially preventing or delaying forthcoming functional decline and avoiding reactive crisis management.Mobility limitation is a predictor of increasing disability in activities of daily living in advanced disease, which could be used to flag early referral to rehabilitation services, to help prevent or delay forthcoming functional decline and avoid reactive crisis management.