Measuring the state of health is a method for quantifying the impact of an illness on the day-to-day life, health and wellbeing of a patient, providing a quantitative measure of an individual’s quality of life (QoL). QoL expresses patient point of view by a subjective dimension and can express the results of medical intervention. Pulmonary rehabilitation is an essential component in the management of COPD patients, and measuring QoL has become a central focus in the study of this disease.
Although nowadays several questionnaires for measuring the QoL in COPD patients are available, there are no questionnaires specifically developed for evaluating QoL in COPD patients undergoing respiratory rehabilitation.
The aim of this study was to develop a novel questionnaire for the QoL quantification in COPD patients undergoing in-patient pulmonary rehabilitation program.
The questionnaire, administered to COPD patients undergoing long-term oxygen therapy into a respiratory rehabilitation ward, was developed by a simple and graphic layout to be administered to elderly patients. It included one form for admission and another for discharge. It included only tips related to the subjective components of QoL that would be relevant for patient, although likely not strictly related to the respiratory function.
A descriptive analysis was performed for the socio-demographic characteristics and both the non-parametric Wilcoxon T-test and the Cronbach’s alpha index were calculated for evaluating the sensitivity of the questionnaire to the effects of respiratory rehabilitation and for identifying its consistency.
The physical and psychological condition of the 34 COPD patients improved after the rehabilitative treatment and this finding was detected by the questionnaire (overall improvement: 14.2±2.5%), as confirmed by the non-parametric Wilcoxon test (p<0.01). The consistency detected by the Cronbach’s alpha was good for both the questionnaire at admission and at discharge (0.789±0.084 and 0.784±0.145, respectively), although some items did not adequately measure the intended outcome.
This proposed questionnaire represents a substantial innovation compared to previous methods for evaluating the QoL, since it has been specifically designed for hospitalized COPD patients undergoing respiratory rehabilitation with serious respiratory deficiency, allowing to effectively determining the QoL in these patients.