The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2002 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

What Works and How Effective Are Better Breathers Clubs?

Bob Langenderfer MEd, RRT

Background: Better Breathers Clubs (BBCs) are meant to provide ongoing support, education, follow-up, and social interaction during phase three of pulmonary rehab. How effective are BBCs, what speakers, topics, meeting times and activities do patients want, and what barriers prevent more participation in BBCs?

Method: A total of 1820 surveys were distributed at the meetings and through the mailing lists of the 12 active BBCs in the state of KY.

202 completed surveys were returned. Respondents were 42% male and 58% female; 70% had some form of COPD.

Results: 1. BBCs were judged worthwhile by a random mix of regular and infrequent participants, with an overall rating of 3.33 on a 0-4 scale.

2. The preferred meeting time is afternoon (41.5%), late morning (30.8%), and early evening (27.7%).

3. Meeting formats were ranked: 1, (top) informational talks by healthcare professionals; 2, capable patients describe how they cope;

3, meetings with both educational and social activities; 4, motivational talks by caring laypeople; 5, fun activities like crafts or games.

4. Main reasons patients don?t go to BBC meetings: 1, (top) other family obligations; 2, not enough energy; 3, none available in the area;

4, too sick; 5, inconvenient meeting sites; 6, too far to go.

5. Reasons for regular BBC participation: 1, (top) to gain info presented; 2, to get professional support; 3, to help one cope emotionally;

4, BBC activities make one feel less isolated; 5, at BBC meetings one can build supportive relationships with other patients.

6. Ranking of speakers: 1, respiratory therapist; 2, doctor; 3, physical therapist; 4, dietician; 5, nurse; 6, pharmacist; 7, humorist; 8, a capable patient; 9, mental health counselor; 10, social worker.

7. Topics of greatest interest: 1, nutrition and SOB; 2, relaxation tips to control SOB; 3, breathing and coughing techniques; 4, early warnings of lung infection; 5, modifying daily activities to reduce SOB; 6, easy exercises; 7, understanding medications; 8, family adjustments to chronic lung disease; 9, medication management; 10, meaning of PFTs; 11, traveling with oxygen; 12, advances in oxygen therapy.

8. Preferences in social functions: 1, play bingo; 2, have a potluck dinner; 3, take bus tour; 4, go on picnic; 5, go to a play; 6, make crafts; 7, invite a choir to perform; 8, play cards; 9, go on cruise or to a concert.

Conclusions: Patients find BBCs very worthwhile for many reasons, and they enjoy a variety of activities. BBC availability is the greatest problem.


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