Low-intensity educational interventions supporting self-management to improve outcomes related to chronic breathlessness: a systematic review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
npj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, 2019, 29 (1)
Issue Date:
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© 2019, The Author(s). Chronic breathlessness is debilitating and frightening, often resulting in emergency department presentations with acute-on-chronic breathlessness. Self-management is complex, involving 14 components as identified by the Practical Systematic Review in Self-Management Support (PRISMS). Low-intensity educational interventions that support breathlessness self-management through written/visual educational materials, alongside limited health professional support, are available. Our aim was to describe components of low-intensity educational interventions that support and improve self-management for adults with chronic breathlessness and evaluate their efficacy for improving breathlessness-related outcomes. A systematic review was conducted, including RCTs that compared these interventions with usual care in adults with chronic disease. Synthesis took a narrative approach utilizing the PRISMS taxonomy and Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist. Of the 1948 articles identified, 7 met criteria reporting 7 RCTs using 6 interventions. Studies utilized 12 out of 14 PRISMS components, the most frequent being training/rehearsal for psychological strategies. Evidence for effectiveness was inconsistent and attempts to identify beneficial components were confounded by intervention complexity and heterogeneity. The optimal content and delivery of low-intensity educational interventions that support self-management to improve chronic breathlessness-related outcomes in adults cannot be defined from current published literature. Future research should incorporate more detailed, standardized reporting to enable comparison and meta-analysis.
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