Interdisciplinary Approach for Refractory Dyspnoea

2019-07-15 10:05:24 | BioPortfolio


Dyspnoea is a very common symptom in many diseases, not only cardiorespiratory, but also renal or neurological diseases. It can be defined as " difficult, laboured and uncomfortable breathing […]. It is a subjective symptom. As pain, it involves both the patient's perception of the sensation and his reaction to it ". It can occur during even moderate effort and sometimes also at rest and tends to increase as the disease causing it progresses. Dyspnoea has therefore a significant on the various aspects of the patient's daily life and those around him or her (travel, leisure, daily activities, etc.) leading to a decrease in quality of life and possibly to anxiety and/or depressive symptoms. Among a vulnerable, elderly population that benefits from home care, it affects more than 46 % of patients in north-west of Switzerland.

Despite the handicap generated by daily dyspnoea, this complaint is often difficult to recognize by health professionals or family and friends, due in particular to a feeling of helplessness in the care provided. In addition, the treatment of the disease responsible for dyspnoea by the doctor does not always provide relief.

In this context, it is essential that people with dyspnoea, families and friends are supported in their experiences and acquire techniques and alternatives that help them better manage dyspnoea on a daily basis.

The first objective is to evaluate the feasibility of a dyspnoea support program led by a respiratory care team non-specialized in palliative care and its effect on quality of life and control of dyspnoea symptoms by patients .

A second objective is to measure patient's satisfaction about the program.


The dyspnoea support program will include 4 steps:

Step 1: Initial interview Before the initial interview, the responsible physician will review or examine the medical records via the request sheet sent by the referring physician or pneumologist containing the patient's diagnoses, history and medications. These files will then be sent to the team coordinator.

The team coordinator will meet the patient to obtain complete informations about his or her experiences with dyspnoea. Validated written questionnaires in French will be completed to complete the evaluation:

- Edmonton Symptom Assessment scale (ESAS):

- London Chest Activity of Daily Living (LCADL):

- Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HADS):

- Chronic Respiratory disease questionnaire (CRQ):

Blood oxygen saturation (Sp02) without O2 will be measured for each patient. If deemed necessary by the responsible physician (Dr. Clark) to complete the evaluation, a spirometry and an Incremental Shuttle Walk Test (ISWT) test will be performed by a physiotherapist.

Step 2: Specialized appointment:

The coordinator will review the patient to present the measures and strategies that will be proposed according to his/her needs and with reference to the evaluation carried out. An anti-dyspnoea checklist providing advice, useful information and exercises to better manage dyspnoea in daily living will be provided, as well as a self-observation logbook to optimize self-energy and fatigue management.

Step 3: Services:

The measures proposed by the coordinator and accepted by the patient will be implemented, for example: work on positions, ventilatory education, use of a fan, pulmonary rehabilitation, stress management, mindfulness meditation, psychosocial services, possible support from the mobile palliative care team, etc. As the measures proposed depend on the evaluation carried out, this is an individualised program. Different measures can be combined in various ways and successions to meet the needs of the patient.

Step 4: Assessment of progress:

Once the program is completed, evolution of dyspnoea perception following the program will be evaluated. CRQ and HADS questionnaires will be completed and patient's satisfaction will be evaluated (look "statistical consideration").

After the program, a follow-up is planned: patients will be seen again at 3 and 6 months after the program. It will then be a matter of completing the CRQ and HADS questionnaires and monitoring the patients' progress.

Study Design




paramedical and non-pharmacological services


Not yet recruiting


Ligue Pulmonaire Neuchâteloise

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-07-15T10:05:24-0400

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