Integrated breathlessness services for people with chronic conditions

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Optimal management of breathlessness requires generally more than one component. Breathlessness services aim to provide specific interventions and support for patients suffering from breathlessness due to any advanced disease and their carers. This review aims to describe recent studies evaluating the effects of breathlessness services for patients with advanced chronic conditions.

Recent findings

Various breathlessness services have been tested and vary regarding structure, duration, frequency and professionals involved. Four randomized controlled trials demonstrated a positive and significant effect on distress due to breathlessness or mastery of breathlessness or breathlessness severity. In the fifth randomized controlled trial, quantitative results were NS, but in the qualitative interviews, patients stressed the positive experience with the breathlessness service and the benefits they gained. The caring, holistic, respectful and integrated approaches were valued by patients.

Summary

Breathlessness services combine a variety of evidence-based nonpharmacological interventions and some services also pharmacological interventions when physicians are involved. As the prevalence of breathlessness due to advanced disease is high and increasing, more such services should be provided to support patients throughout the course of their disease.

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