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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Patients with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease feel safe when treated at home: a qualitative study

Ying Wang12*, Torbjørn Haugen13, Sissel Steihaug14 and Anne Werner1

Author Affiliations

1 HØKH, Research Centre, Akershus University Hospital, P.O. Box 95, N-1478, Lørenskog, Norway

2 Faculty Division Akershus University Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

3 Clinic for Allergy and Airway Diseases, Oslo, Norway

4 SINTEF Technology and Society, Health Research, P.O. Box 124, Blindern, N-0314, Norway

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BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2012, 12:45  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-12-45

Published: 24 August 2012



The design of new interventions to improve health care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requires knowledge about what patients with an acute exacerbation experience as important and useful. The objective of the study was to explore patients’ experiences of an early discharge hospital at home (HaH) treatment programme for exacerbations in COPD.


Six exacerbated COPD patients that were randomised to receiving HaH care and three patients randomised to receiving traditional hospital care were interviewed in semi-structured in-depth interviews. Four spouses were present during the respective patients’ interviews. The interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and analysed by a four-step method for systematic text condensing.


Despite limited assistance from the health care service, the patients and their spouses experienced the HaH treatment as safe. They expressed that information that was adapted to specific situations in their daily lives and given in a familiar environment had positive impact on their self-management of COPD.


The results contribute to increased knowledge and awareness about what the patients experienced as important aspects of a HaH treatment programme. How adapted input from health services can make patients with exacerbation of COPD feel safe and better able to manage their disease, is important knowledge for developing new and effective health services for patients with chronic disease.

Hospital at home treatment; Acute exacerbation of COPD; Qualitative interviews; Patient perspective