O6.6.1 Psychosocial support

Support groups may provide people with COPD and their carers with emotional support, social interaction, and new knowledge and coping strategies, although studies specifically evaluating the benefits of these groups for improving quality of life and psychological well-being are yet to be conducted. Pulmonary rehabilitation provides a good opportunity to initiate support group attendance. Lung support groups may provide patients and carers with emotional support, social interaction, and other social outlets, and help them gain new knowledge and coping strategies. A list of Patient Support Group names and locations can be accessed via Lung Foundation Australia’s website at http://lungfoundation.com.au/patient-area/patient-support/patient-support-groups/. Contact details can be obtained from Lung Foundation Australia’s Information and Support Centre (free-call 1800 654 301). In New Zealand, contact the Asthma Foundation (phone +64 4 499 4592; Internet address, http://www.asthmanz.co.nz).

People with COPD are vulnerable to developing symptoms of anxiety and depression, which then worsen quality of life and disability (Xu 2008, Eisner 2010b). Pulmonary rehabilitation has been associated with short-term reductions in anxious and depressive symptoms (Coventry 2007, Coventry 2013). Additional intervention by mental health specialists will be required for clinically significant symptoms of anxiety or depression (Livermore 2010).