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Poster round (P09; Author PhD Barbara Fuchs, Chiesi Pharma AB):

The human factor – from insights to needs of persons living with COPD

Which unmet needs and challenges do people living with COPD see for themselves, which impact did the diagnosis of COPD have on them, how do they feel about their treatment, and finally: what would they wish for if they had a magic wand? The HOPE study-team set off to perform semi-structured interviews with individuals from eight European countries including Denmark and Sweden to find out.

Symptoms leading to diagnosis

Scichilone et al ran a study1 of semi-structured interviews with sixty-two persons living for at least six months with a diagnosis of COPD conducted by human factors experts to investigate their perspectives and requirements. The results show that difficulty breathing and coughing were the most frequent symptoms leading to diagnosis. The majority of participants (58%) felt negatively affected by the diagnosis as it reduces their ability to be active, and to participate in social life and hobbies. When living with the disease, reduced physical ability, challenges to mobility, and breathing problems were most bothersome. Some participants described a positive impact of the diagnosis, being able to reduce or even stop smoking after receiving more information, smoking cessation treatment, or quitting for a family member and the threat of death.

Treatment: influence, adherence and training

Most participants (67%) report that they were not involved in the selection of their present treatment. Feelings connected to their treatment were mostly positive or neutral. The participants also revealed their best strategies to remember to take their medications, either in conjunction with other medicines, routines or habits such as tooth brushing. However, some also reported that feeling unwell prompts them to take their medication.

Persons living with COPD report that information about their treatment was provided to them in training provided by health care. Thirty-one percent of participants revealed that they did not receive any training about their treatment.

Sources of information and support

Information was collected by family and friends, as was it collected online. Online sources of information felt not trust-worthy, and there was also an unwillingness to read more about their condition due to fear.

To improve their situation, persons living with COPD would like to have easier access to health care personnel, physiotherapy, smoking cessation support, workshops for families and friends to increase understanding for the disease, among other.

The ultimate wish

When asked “If I had a magic wand, I´d wish for…?”, most persons living with COPD were clear in their answer: TO FIND A CURE.

Barbara Fuchs
Medical Manager, Chiesi Nordics


  1. Scichilone, N., Whittamore, A., White, C. et al. The patient journey in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): a human factors qualitative international study to understand the needs of people living with COPD. BMC Pulm Med 23, 506 (2023).