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The experience of women aged under 65 years working and living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

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posted on 2023-08-30, 15:45 authored by Hanna Mal'ouf
Aim: This study aimed to explore how working women with COPD managed their daily lives, which included work. Background: The prevalence of COPD in women of working age (65 years old and under) is increasing worldwide. The onset of chronic disease can lead to work cessation, which is a significant burden for the worker, the employer and society as a whole. There is little knowledge of how these women manage to remain active and productive in their work and home lives, despite having COPD. Method: This was a sequential mixed methods study. The primary phase involved semi-structured qualitative interviews and collection of interim data from a sample of six working aged women in the South East of England over a three month period. The secondary phase was a quantitative content analysis on data collected from an online health forum specific for COPD. Findings: The main findings were that women in this study experienced issues that were age- and gender- specific. Such issues included the need for support in balancing domestic and employment tasks while managing their disease, and difficulties faced in starting relationships, having children and performing activities involved in the mothering role. Using the ICF model, environmental, social and personal factors were found to influence the degree of disease-related limitations the participants perceived, which in turn effected their participation in activities. Conclusion: This study highlighted the challenges working age women with COPD can experience on a daily basis, such as difficulties balancing domestic and employment tasks while managing their disease, and the physical demands of pregnancy and child rearing. Those who successfully managed their COPD were able to stay at work and had a good quality of life.



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