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Non-medical devices for chronic breathlessness: use, barriers and facilitators for patients, carers and clinicians - a scoping review

Prihartadi, Aliya Syahreni; Impelliziere Licastro, Giovanna; Pearson, Mark; Johnson, Miriam J.; Luckett, Tim; Swan, Flavia


Aliya Syahreni Prihartadi

Giovanna Impelliziere Licastro

Tim Luckett

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Dr Flavia Swan
Research fellow in cancer rehabilitation


Background: Non-medical devices such as the handheld fan (fan), mobility aids (wheeled walkers with seats) and inspiratory muscle training (IMT) devices offer benefits for patient management of chronic breathlessness. We examined the published evidence regarding patient, carer and clinician use of the fan, mobility aids and IMT devices for chronic breathlessness management, and the potential barriers and facilitators to day-to-day use in a range of settings. Methods: MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, EBSCO and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were searched. Papers were imported into EndNote and Rayyan for review against a priori eligibility criteria. Outcome data relevant to use were extracted and categorised as potential barriers and facilitators, and a narrative synthesis exploring reasons for similarities and differences conducted. Results: Seven studies met the inclusion criteria (n=5 fan, n=2 mobility aids and n=0 IMT devices). All of the studies presented patient use of non-medical devices only. Patients found the fan easy to use at home. Mobility aids were used mainly for outdoor activities. Outdoor use for both devices were associated with embarrassment. Key barriers included: Appearance; credibility; self-stigma; technical specifications. Common facilitators were ease of use, clinical benefit and feeling safe with the device. Conclusion: The efforts of patients, carers and clinicians to adopt and use non-medical devices for the management of chronic breathlessness is impeded by lack of implementation research. Future research should improve knowledge of the barriers and facilitators to use. This would enhance understanding of how decision-making in patient-carer-clinician triads impacts on non-medical devices use for breathlessness management.


Prihartadi, A. S., Impelliziere Licastro, G., Pearson, M., Johnson, M. J., Luckett, T., & Swan, F. (in press). Non-medical devices for chronic breathlessness: use, barriers and facilitators for patients, carers and clinicians - a scoping review. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care,

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Jun 10, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 2, 2021
Deposit Date Jul 7, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 9, 2021
Journal BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
Print ISSN 2045-435X
Electronic ISSN 2045-4368
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Medicine (miscellaneous); Oncology(nursing); Medical–Surgical; General Medicine
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