Objectives: To update a previously published systematic review on the effectiveness of self-management education (SME) for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Methods: Electronic databases were accessed (from inception to July 2016) to find relevant randomized controlled trials. Studies that compared SME with routine methods of care in COPD patients were retrieved. Both data synthesis and descriptive analysis were used for outcome assessment (e.g. quality of life and healthcare utilization).
Results: Twenty-four studies were included. Data synthesis showed better quality of life among COPD patients receiving SME. Significant reductions in COPD-related hospital admissions and emergency department visits were identified in the SME group. SME may positively affect the reduction of COPD patients’ emotional distress. No significant reduction in smoking rate and mortality rate was observed between groups. No clear evidence supports the improvement of pulmonary functions, dyspnea, and nutritional status in COPD patients with the use of SME.
Conclusion: SME can be a useful strategy to improve quality of life and disease-specific knowledge in patients with COPD. It also reduces respiratory-related hospital admissions and emergency department visits in COPD patients.
Practice implications: Inclusion of SME as one of the key components for the comprehensive management of COPD is encouraged.