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Journal of General Practice Nursing (GPN) | June 2021

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Self-management in COPD: time to address mental health

Self-management in COPD: time to address mental health
Health promotion & COPD

Pages: 26 - 32

Article topics: CBT, COPD, Mental Health, Quality of life, Self-management

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term often used for two common incurable lung conditions, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Breathlessness is the main symptom experienced by patients, which can be frightening and patients can develop symptoms of anxiety, panic, low mood and depression. General practice nurses (GPNs) are ideally placed to address these symptoms. This article describes the importance of considering psychological well-being to improve self-management in COPD and how cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques can be used to assess and manage the psychological impact of breathlessness. Addressing mental health is a key area to improve self-management in COPD and research has found that respiratory nurses were able to learn and deliver CBT techniques to patients with COPD and improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as quality of life, while also reducing use of healthcare resources (Heslop-Marshall et al, 2018). GPNs can likewise improve self-management by incorporating CBT techniques.

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