Social Distancing among COPD Patients during the COVID-19 Pandemic - A Qualitative Study

Kathrine Hoffmann Kusk*, Line Hust Storgaard, Ulla Møller Weinreich, Mette Grønkjaer, Charlotte Brun Thorup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


To limit the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing was introduced globally in the first half of 2020. COPD-patients were identified as a group at special risk in connection with the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Hence, social distancing has been important in this group of patients. However, little is known of the motives and consequences of social distancing in these vulnerable patients. The aim of this study was to explore the perspectives and experiences on social distancing among COPD-patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients in this qualitative study were selected strategically, equally allocated between gender and age to obtain maximum variation. Data were collected using individual semi-structured telephone interviews during June and July 2020. The interview guide focused on three themes; life before, under and after the COVID-19 lockdown. A total of 18 patients (8 females, 10 males) participated. Four themes were identified as important for social distancing among COPD-patients: 'Being at high-risk and obtaining control', 'Protecting one life while missing on another', 'Social relationships and distancing' and 'Looking into the future'. The results increased our knowledge of patients' experiences of living with COPD during COVID-19 in which anxiety and fear of getting infected made patients control their surroundings through strict precautions. This led to a feeling of loneliness due to social distance and an altered life-illness balance, as they protected one life while missing on another.

Original languageEnglish
JournalC O P D
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)549-556
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • COPD-patients
  • COVID-19
  • isolation
  • patient experience
  • qualitative interviews
  • social distancing


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