Caring for Older People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: a Grounded Theory Study

Caring for Older People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: a Grounded Theory Study




 Informal caregivers play an important role, and exploring the interaction between patients and informal caregivers and paying attention to the needs of informal caregivers should be part of research (Nakken, 2015).

Aims and objectives

To explore the caregiving process in caregivers caring for an older person with COPD.


Twenty-eight open-ended individual audiotaped interviews were conducted from April 2016 to December 2017, with 12 older persons with advanced COPD and 16 relatives caring for them. All interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded, and analyzed using Charmaz's (2006) constructivist grounded theory approach.


The family caregiver process involves three different stages: changing relationship, patient replacement, and control of the patient. Economic factors and social support can act on the informal caregiving capacity of continuing to take care of their relative after hospital discharge. Family caregivers of older people with COPD can experience guilt when taking time away from other family members and the need to set priorities. Some participants understand that there were some positive outcomes from taking on the caregiving role and this supported them to keep on taking care of their older relatives after hospital discharge for exacerbation.


The presence of a family caregiver is important to provide practical help and emotional support but the caregiver might tend to over control the patient and consequently making patients increasingly dependent on the caregiver, who can experience emotional imbalance.


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