Psychological distress is highly prevalent among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the top palliative care priority identified by such patients, and associated with poor outcomes. However, patients with COPD rarely receive care for psychological distress.
To identify the barriers and opportunities to reducing psychological distress among patients with COPD in the specialty pulmonary setting.
We conducted semi-structured interviews based on Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research constructs with key stakeholders at two pulmonary clinics, including clinicians, staff, patients, and caregivers. We focused on the relevance, identification, and management of psychological distress in COPD care. We identified emergent patterns and concepts, developed and applied codes to the text, and examined the content in each code to identify key themes.
Thirty-one stakeholders participated in interviews (RR=64.6%). Nearly all pulmonary clinicians felt that psychological well-being was a critical, unmet patient need. Yet, most pulmonary clinicians reported that they lacked sufficient training and available resources to support patients, prioritized physical symptoms and medication management over emotional concerns, and perceived limited cultural support for such efforts in the pulmonary clinic setting. Patient and caregiver participants desired integration and prioritization of care addressing psychological distress into routine pulmonary care.
Mitigating psychological distress is a palliative care priority in COPD. Integrating efficient, effective resources, such as tools or programs that address psychological distress, into pulmonary clinic settings serving a high volume of patients with COPD may improve the provision of supportive care to patients typically underserved by specialty palliative care.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.