Developing a home-based pulmonary rehabilitation programme for patients with chronic respiratory diseases in Malaysia: A mixed-method feasibility study.

27 Oct 2023


The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of remote healthcare and home-based interventions, including pulmonary rehabilitation, for patients with chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs). It has also heightened the vulnerability of individuals with underlying respiratory conditions to severe illness from COVID-19, necessitating exploration and assessment of the feasibility of delivering home - pulmonary rehabilitation (home-PR) programmes for CRD management in Malaysia and other countries. Home-based programmes offer a safer alternative to in-person rehabilitation during outbreaks like COVID-19 and can serve as a valuable resource for patients who may be hesitant to visit healthcare facilities during such times. We aimed to assess the feasibility of delivering a home-PR programme for patients with CRDs in Malaysia.


We recruited patients with CRDs from two hospitals in Klang Valley, Malaysia to a home-PR programme. Following centre-based assessment, patients performed the exercises at home (five sessions/week for eight weeks (total 40 sessions)). We monitored the patients via weekly telephone calls and asked about adherence to the programme. We measured functional exercise capacity (6-Minutes Walking Test (6MWT) and Health-Related Quality-of-Life (HRQoL) (COPD Assessment Test (CAT)) at baseline and post-PR at nine weeks. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 purposively sampled participants to explore views and feedback on the home-PR programme. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed thematically.


We included 30 participants; two withdrew due to hospitalisation. Although 28 (93%) adhered to the full programme, only 11 (37%) attended the post-PR assessment because COVID-19 movement restrictions in Malaysia at that time prevented attendance at the centre. Four themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: involvement of family and caregivers, barriers to home-PR programme, interactions with peers and health care professionals, and programme enhancement.


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the home-PR programme proved feasible for remote delivery, although centre-based post-PR assessments were not possible. Family involvement played an important role in the home-PR programme. The delivery of this programme can be further improved to maximise the benefit for patients.

Read more here.

Resource information

Respiratory conditions
  • Chronic Respiratory Disease
Respiratory topics
  • Global Health
Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Chan SC, Patrick Engksan J, Jeevajothi Nathan J, Sekhon JK, Hussein N, Suhaimi A, Hanafi NS, Pang YK, Mohamad Yatim S, Habib GMM, Pinnock H, Khoo EM, RESPIRE Collaboration