Despite the good results of the study, the researchers emphasized that their findings did not include any conclusions about the positive effects of coping techniques on COPD-related hospitalizations or deaths. The research revealed that the low-cost approach could enhance quality of life, reduce distress and somatic symptoms, and improve physical functioning for patients.
“This model offers privacy and minimal inconvenience,” Blumenthal added. “This could be a valuable treatment for patients with other chronic conditions in which traditional mental health services are not easily accessible, or when patients are reluctant to seek such services.”
Researchers from Duke Medicine analyzed the effects of coaching COPD patients through the telephone, as a way of finding methods of dealing with the disease that affects about 15 million Americans, causes obstruction of the airways and difficulties in breathing and is already the third main cause of death in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“COPD is an increasingly important public health problem. It’s a debilitating and distressing illness,” said author Scott Palmer, M.D., MHS, an associate professor of pulmonary medicine at Duke and medical director of the project. “Our work has established an innovative and important intervention that could improve patient quality of life. Although it has not translated into improved survival rates, this approach is worthy of further investigation.”
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