Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Experimental (i.e. randomised controlled trials, RCTs) or quasi-experimental studies were eligible for the review.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of disease self-management programmes specific to the care of patients with COPD were eligible for inclusion. General health education programmes not directly related to lung disease were allowed as part of the 'standard care' control. All the self-management programmes in the included studies involved some teaching component: either provided to a group or individuals, and usually by an allied health professional. Programme material included booklet, audio- and/or videotapes. The programmes covered: teaching and training about the lung and COPD and respiratory medication; how to identify acute exacerbations; the use of relaxation techniques, controlled breathing and/or energy conservation, exercise or physical activities programmes; and education on smoking cessation, nutrition, oxygen and community services. Some studies included the effects of corticosteroids or antibacterials.
Participants included in the review
Studies that had a diagnosis of COPD as one of the inclusion criteria for patient enrolment were eligible for this review. The mean age of the patients in the included studies was above 55 years. All studies included both male and female patients. Where reported, the proportion of smokers ranged from 16 to 63%.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies that reported an outcome of health status or use of health resources were eligible for the review. All the included studies reported health status as an outcome, but the questionnaires used to derive this varied; the most commonly used was the Sickness Impact Profile. Six studies reported use of health resources: physician visits, emergency department visits or hospitalisation.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The author did not state how the papers were selected for thereview, or how many reviewers performed the selection.