Access barriers, self-reliance deprives COPD patients of prompt care
Patients experiencing undiagnosed COPD exacerbations refuse to seek medical care due to socio-economic access barriers and insistence on trying out their own remedies, observed a recent study by Dr Emily R. Locke, at the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Puget Sound Health Care System, and colleagues. The team conducted 60 semistructured interviews with people who had experienced a recent COPD exacerbation, asking them about their experiences and decisions, to find that attitudes and access issues were major factors in patients’ decisions to delay care. The study, published in NPJ Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, wrote that the participants often avoided care-seeking because of an attitude of self-reliance and not wanting to ‘bother’ or ‘burden’ others. It also highlighted that most patients sought care when their home remedies proved insufficient or when symptoms worsened, or when family members of patients intervened.