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Patients’ practices and experiences of using nebuliser therapy in the management of COPD at home
  1. B Alhaddad1,
  2. F J Smith2,
  3. T Robertson3,
  4. G Watman3 and
  5. K M G Taylor2
  1. 1Public Authority for Applied Education & Training, College of Health Sciences, Shuwaikh, Kuwait
  2. 2UCL School of Pharmacy, London, UK
  3. 3NHS Harrow CCG, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor K M G Taylor; kevin.taylor{at}


Background and aim How patients use their nebulisers at home is vital to ensure effective treatment and optimal health outcomes for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aim of the study was to identify the practicalities and problems associated with nebuliser use by patients with COPD at home, which may impact on the safety and effectiveness of therapy.

Design and setting A cross-sectional descriptive study in which participants were recruited from two levels of care: primary care, involving 38 GP practices in North West London, and intermediate care with a major acute hospital.

Method In-depth interviews were conducted with a representative sample of 50 patients with COPD using nebulisers in their home, recruited from general practice populations and at hospital discharge. A checklist was used to record activities and patients demonstrated use of their nebuliser. Qualitative procedures were employed to identify the range of problems experienced with nebuliser use.

Results A wide range of practical issues was identified at all stages: problems prior to nebulisation: setting up equipment, lack of instructions, manual dexterity and time required. Problems during medication administration: inhalation technique, duration of nebulisation and understanding how to achieve optimal efficacy. Problems post-administration: inadequate cleaning of nebuliser components, access to accessories and use of damaged parts or self-repairs. Other problems included noise, weight and non-portability of equipment.

Conclusions Patients with COPD using nebulisers at home experienced problems with all aspects, many of which may be anticipated to compromise clinical outcomes. Healthcare providers should be aware of these problems to effectively support patients with COPD with the use of their nebulisers at home.

  • Nebuliser therapy

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