Are Improvements Maintained After In-home Pulmonary Telerehabilitation for Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
This study investigated if improvements can be maintained over 24 weeks when in-home pulmonary telerehabilitation is combined with asynchronous self-management education for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Twenty-three community-living elders with moderate to very severe COPD participated in a pre/post-intervention study. Over 8 weeks, they had access to self-learning capsules on self-management, received 15 in-home teletreatment sessions and were encouraged to gradually engage in unsupervised sessions. Participants were assessed before the intervention (T1), immediately after the intervention (T2), and 6 months later (T3). Outcome measures were 1) exercise tolerance (6-minute walk test [6MWT]), Cycle Endurance Test [CET]), and 2) quality of life (Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire [CRQ]). Although there were significant improvements after 8 weeks of pulmonary telerehabilitation on the 6MWT, CET and three of four CRQ domains, none of these improvements were maintained after 6 months and scores returned to their baseline values (all p values > 0.05 when comparing T3 with T1). While pulmonary telerehabilitation is possible and has a positive impact on patients with moderate to very severe COPD, improvements were not maintained in the long-term even when physical therapy was accompanied by self-management education.
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