Living with an ever-present breathlessness: Women's experiences of living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease stage III or IV.

Ekdahl A, Söderberg S, Rising-Holmström M

Scand J Caring Sci - (-) - [2021-05-18; online 2021-05-18]

Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease stage III or IV has a major impact on a person's everyday life. This qualitative study focuses on women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease stage III or IV. The aim of this study was to describe women's experiences of living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease stage III or IV. A purposive sample of fifteen women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease stage III or IV participated in the study. Data were collected through individual semi-structured interviews that were subjected to qualitative content analysis. One theme was identified, stabilizing an ever-present breathlessness by restoring strength, and three categories are as follows: managing a restricted everyday life as an expert of their illness, being afraid of contracting infections leading to suffocation and suffering and importance of continuous help and support from significant others and digital media. Breathlessness restricted women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, living with a body they have to wait for. Managing everyday life was adapted to their limited abilities and energy. This required detailed planning, good knowledge of their breathing and body. Women were afraid of contracting life-threatening infections that caused suffering, especially COVID-19. The fear leads to isolation and digital media was described as an important means of communication. Significant others gave support and help that was practical and emotional. Women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease experienced lack of continuous help and support from healthcare professionals. Stabilizing an ever-present breathlessness by restoring strength required women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease stage III or IV to conduct detailed planning to manage everyday life. Being afraid of contracting infections and the consequences of suffocation had increased since the pandemic COVID-19 outbreak, which led to self-isolation and an inactive everyday life. To get help, support and socialize, women used digital media.

Category: Health

Type: Journal article

PubMed 34008226

DOI 10.1111/scs.12998

Crossref 10.1111/scs.12998


Publications 7.1.2