Skip to main content

Table 4 Baseline responses regarding current practices in assessment and management of chronic breathlessness (non-Likert style questions, n = 47)

From: Attitude change and increased confidence with management of chronic breathlessness following a health professional training workshop: a survey evaluation

Question and response optionsfrequency(%)
When caring for people with chronic cardiopulmonary disease/cancer how often do you assess severity of breathlessness? (select as many as apply)
 At admission/initial consultation31 (66.0)
 At discharge/final consultation24 (51.1)
 Daily until discharge/each occasion of service18 (38.3)
 With all outpatient/ambulatory reviews18 (38.3)
 More often than daily/more often than once each occasion of service9 (19.1)
Which description best characterises your approach to assessing breathlessness severity?
 I ask the patient to rate the severity of shortness of breath using a categorical scale (e.g. somewhat SOB, no SOB, improved or worsened compared with a prior date)26 (55.3)
 Othera9 (19.1)
 I ask the patient whether or not they are having shortness of breath7 (14.9)
 Blank3 (6.4)
 I don’t regularly ask about breathlessness severity2 (4.3)
Awareness of breathlessness severity affects my management by influencing my decision: (select all that apply)
 To add non-pharmacologic-based, symptom-oriented treatment for breathlessness, such as fans or pursed lip breathing technique39 (83.0)
 To review current strategies to manage breathlessness including inhaler use34 (72.3)
 To refer person on for additional therapeutic or social servicesIncluding: palliative care/psychology/other32 (68.1)
 To intensify treatment of the patient’s underlying condition24 (51.1)
 To add/refer for pharmacologic-based, symptom-oriented treatment for breathlessness, such as opioids19 (40.4)
 To pursue additional diagnostic testing16 (34.0)
 Regarding timing of discharge (for hospitalised people)11 (23.4)
Which of the following non-pharmacological/non-surgical therapies are effective for the relief of chronic breathlessness? (select all that apply)
 Pursed lip breathing43 (91.5)
 Pulmonary rehabilitation/exercise training42 (89.4)
 Pacing/fatigue management42 (89.4)
 Positioning to alleviate breathlessness41 (87.2)
 Relaxation techniques40 (85.1)
 Cool air/fan40 (85.1)
 Walking aids and home modification40 (85.1)
 Mindfulness techniques37 (78.7)
 Cognitive behavioural strategies34 (72.3)
 Non-invasive ventilation23 (48.9)
 Oxygen for non-hypoxaemic patients14 (29.8)
Other (free text responses:don’t know; high flow nasal cannula; some patients report use of airway clearance devices help their breathlessness3 (6.4)
  1. aFree text associated with “other”indicated use of the Borg scale, asking whether or not they are having shortness of breath and observation at rest and during functional assessment; Symptom Assessment Scale for distress about SOB; just ask them to describe it to me
  2. SOB shortness of breath