Background: We compared uptake of hospital and community-based support in elderly people disabled by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), normal controls (NCs) and patients with Parkinsons disease, stroke, amputation, or arthritis (disabled controls; DCs).
Methods: There were 65 subjects (35 men) aged 70-93 years (mean 78) with COPD, 55 NCs [23 men; age range 71-90 years (mean 78)] and 53 DCs [27 men; age range 70-92 years (mean 78)]. Patients with COPD and DCs were outpatients with Nottingham extended activities of daily living (NEADL) score < 16. NCs came from a community survey. Subjects with COPD were clinically stable. All were cognitively intact.
Results: Mean NEADL scores (and range) were: 10.2 (3-15) for patients with COPD, 9.4 (3-15) for DCs (t=1.14, P=0.26) and 19.0 (11-21) for NCs. There was no difference in meals-on-wheels, district nurse or hospital or physiotherapy provision between patients with COPD and NCs, but those with COPD received more home care (P < 0.01). DCs received more home care (P=0.04), more district nurse input (P < 0.001) and more physiotherapy (P < 0.0001) than those with COPD.
Conclusions: Despite moderate or severe disability, elderly patients with COPD receive little statutory domiciliary support. Reasons for this need further exploration.