Perspectives of Patients With Chronic Respiratory Diseases and Medical Professionals on Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Pune, India: Qualitative Analysis
Chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) contribute significantly to morbidity and mortality worldwide and in India. Access to nonpharmacological options, such as pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), are, however, limited. Given the difference between need and availability, exploring PR, specifically remotely delivered PR, in a resource-poor setting, will help inform future work.
This study explored the perceptions, experiences, needs, and challenges of patients with CRDs and the potential of and the need for PR from the perspective of patients as well as medical professionals involved in the referral (doctors) and delivery (physiotherapists) of PR.
In-depth qualitative semistructured interviews were conducted among 20 individuals diagnosed with CRDs and 9 medical professionals. An inductive thematic analysis approach was used as we sought to identify the meanings shared both within and across the 2 participant groups.
The 20 patients considered lifestyle choices (smoking and drinking), a lack of physical activity, mental stress, and heredity as the triggering factors for their CRDs. All of them equated the disease with breathlessness and a lack of physical strength, consulting multiple doctors about their physical symptoms. The most commonly cited treatment choice was an inhaler. Most of them believed that yoga and exercise are good self-management strategies, and some were performing yoga postures and breathing exercises, as advised by friends or family members or learned from a televised program or YouTube videos. None of them identified with the term “pulmonary rehabilitation,” but many were aware of the exercise component and its benefits. Despite being naive to smartphone technology or having difficulty in reading, most of them were enthusiastic about enrolling in an application-based remotely delivered digital PR program. The 9 medical professionals were, however, reluctant to depend on a PR program delivered entirely online. They recommended that patients with CRDs be supported by their family to use technology, with some time spent with a medical professional during the program.
Patients with CRDs in India currently manage their disease with nonguided strategies but are eager to improve and would benefit from a guided PR program to feel better. A home-based PR program, with delivery facilitated by digital solutions, would be welcomed by patients and health care professionals involved in their care, as it would reduce the need for travel, specialist equipment, and setup. However, low digital literacy, low resource availability, and a lack of expertise are of concern to health care professionals. For India, including yoga could be a way of making PR “culturally congruent” and more successful. The digital PR intervention should be flexible to individual patient needs and should be complemented with physical sessions and a feedback mechanism for both practitioners as well as patients for better uptake and adherence.
Author affiliationDepartment of Respiratory Sciences, University of Leicester
- VoR (Version of Record)