Self management of patients with mild COPD in primary care: randomised controlled trial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

External organisations

  • University of Oxford
  • Centre for Exercise and Rehabilitation Science
  • University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
  • Glenfield Hospital


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of telephone health coaching delivered by a nurse to support self management in a primary care population with mild symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Design: Multicentre randomised controlled trial.

Setting: 71 general practices in four areas of England.

Participants: 577 patients with Medical Research Council dyspnoea scale scores of 1 or 2, recruited from primary care COPD registers with spirometry confirmed diagnosis. Patients were randomised to telephone health coaching (n=289) or usual care (n=288).

Interventions: Telephone health coaching intervention delivered by nurses, underpinned by Social Cognitive Theory. The coaching promoted accessing smoking cessation services, increasing physical activity, medication management, and action planning (4 sessions over 11 weeks; postal information at weeks 16 and 24). The nurses received two days of training. The usual care group received a leaflet about COPD.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was health related quality of life at 12 months using the short version of the St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ-C).

Results: The intervention was delivered with good fidelity: 86% of scheduled calls were delivered; 75% of patients received all four calls. 92% of patients were followed-up at six months and 89% at 12 months. There was no difference in SGRQ-C total score at 12 months (mean difference −1.3, 95% confidence interval −3.6 to 0.9, P=0.23). Compared with patients in the usual care group, at six months follow-up, the intervention group reported greater physical activity, more had received a care plan (44% v 30%), rescue packs of antibiotics (37% v 29%), and inhaler use technique check (68% v 55%).

Conclusions: A new telephone health coaching intervention to promote behaviour change in primary care patients with mild symptoms of dyspnoea did lead to changes in self management activities, but did not improve health related quality of life.

Trial registration: Current controlled trials ISRCTN 06710391


Original languageEnglish
Article numberk2241
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2018


  • COPD, self-management, physical activity, randomised controlled trial, health coaching