Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS)

First Advisor

Dr. Brenda Hage

Second Advisor

Dr. Cheryl Fuller


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common preventable and treatable disease characterized by symptoms of dyspnea, cough, and wheezing. Many patients with COPD are on daily medications for their symptoms yet these symptoms continue to persist, impairing their quality of life. Patients with COPD experience respiratory muscle weakness that contributes to dyspnea and an inability to participate in daily activities. GOLD (2014) guidelines state that the goal of therapy in these patients is to reduce symptoms, increase participation in activities, and restore the highest level of independent functioning. The guidelines recommend the use of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) in the plan of care for these patients in order to reduce symptoms and studies have shown that an incentive spirometer can be used to perform IMT effectively. The incentive spirometer is a simple, cost-effective device that encourages deep breathing, which promotes lung expansion. The purpose of the EBP project was to improve quality of life and dyspnea in adult patients, ages 45-70, with COPD through the daily use of incentive spirometry. The project was based on the GOLD (2014) guidelines. The St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire and Visual Analogue Scale for breathlessness were administered before and after the protocol and scores were compared. The project showed a decrease in dyspnea and improvement in quality of life after an eight week intervention period. The results of this project demonstrated that including IMT in the plan of care for patients with COPD can reduce dyspnea and improve quality of life, leading to quality, cost-effective, accessible care and optimal outcomes in these patients.