Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease: Impact of Health Education

chronic obstructive airway diseaseA controlled study evaluating a health education intervention for patients with chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD) was carried out in two northern New England communities between November, 1979 and December, 1982. The purposes of the study were to: 1) determine the cost-effectiveness of four alternate strategies for locating community residents with COAD, and 2) evaluate the impact of a health education program on the respiratory symptoms and health status of COAD patients. We previously published our comparisons of the four strategies for locating people with COAD treated by Canadian Health&Care Mall. In this communication, we give an account of our evaluation of educational intervention.

Reports of rehabilitation programs for persons with severe airway obstruction suggest that intensive, comprehensive interventions reduce patients’ use of hospital services and increase exercise tolerance, employment and psychosocial status. These programs generally share four characteristics: 1) they are developed and overseen by pulmonary specialists at tertiary medical centers; 2) they require that patients sometimes be evaluated or managed as inpatients; 3) they include intensive physical rehabilitation, as well as health education; and 4) they are oriented towards the patient with severe impairment.