Often times, medical practitioners struggle with enabling motivational interventions in chronically ill patients. This is particularly true for those with lung disease, as strenuous activities can prove particularly difficult. New efforts, however, are being made to implement best practices in primary to instigate the maximum participation from patients themselves in improving their well being.
A new study entitled “A motivational intervention for patients with COPD in primary care: qualitative evaluation of a new practitioner role” published in October issue of BMC Family Practice, reports the beneficial motivational outcomes of a short-term intervention by “liaison health workers” in patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, otherwise known as COPD, is characterized by impaired airflow with worsening symptoms escalating over time. It represents a serious challenge to health public services, since it requires long-term care. For patients with COPD, a reduced exercise capacity leads to inactivity and consequently, depression and anxiety.
In this study, the authors developed an interventional approach to address the psychosocial needs of COPD patients. The intervention was performed by liaison health workers (LHWs), who had nursing training and experience in mental health work. Additionally, LHWs received further training in psychological interventions, behavorial activation, cognitive restructuring, medication management and liaison skills. In the study, LHWs used audio-recorded interviews with COPD patients with a mean age of 65 years old and health practitioners.
Despite a short intervention, patients described the work by LHWs as a new type of care with a clear impact on patients’ motivation to engage in self-management. Health practitioners also reported a positive impact on LHWs work targeting patients’ psychosocial requirements. The authors thus suggest that LHWs practices should be adopted to induce motivational changes in patients with COPD and other long-term conditions.