December 2, 2015

Help us better understand how doctors approach symptom management in COPD: Breathlessness survey

Article submitted by Dr Natasha Smallwood (Respiratory Physician – The Royal Melbourne Hospital)

Breathlessness is a common symptom affecting up to 98 per cent of people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Breathlessness may occur on minimal exertion despite optimal treatment of the COPD. The consequent symptom burden for people with COPD and their families can be very high, leading to reduced quality of life.

Our research team is conducting a survey to better understand how doctors approach symptom management and palliative care, when caring for patients with severe COPD. We are particularly interested in your views on the management of severe breathlessness, the use of oxygen and the role of specialist palliative care and advance care planning. This survey is being carried out in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

We are asking consultant physicians and specialist registrars, who work in Respiratory Medicine or Palliative Medicine to take part in this voluntary, online survey, which will take 5 ­ 10 minutes of your time. As the survey is designed to explore participants’ beliefs and experiences, there are no right or wrong answers.

Ethics approval has been granted for this study by Melbourne Health (Approval number – QA2014171). There are no anticipated risks by taking part in this research. All survey responses will be anonymous and confidential. No personal information that could identify respondents is being collected and email addresses will not be linked to survey responses.

This study is being led by Dr Natasha Smallwood (Respiratory Physician – The Royal Melbourne Hospital). Dr Smallwood has an interest in refractory breathlessness and palliative care. The research team also includes A/Prof Jenny Philip – Palliative Medicine Specialist (Melbourne), A/Prof Brian Le – Palliative Medicine Specialist (Melbourne), Prof David Currow – Palliative Medicine Specialist (Adelaide), and A/Prof Lou Irving – Respiratory Physician (Melbourne). If you have any questions regarding this research survey, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Natasha Smallwood ( directly.

Please click on the link to proceed to the survey: If the link fails to load automatically, please cut and paste it into your internet browser. Thank you in advance for participating.