Barriers for setting up a pulmonary rehabilitation program in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia

Mohammed Alsubaiei, Paul Cafarella, Peter Frith, R McEvoy, Tanja Effing

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programs proven to be one of the most effective treatment options for respiratory diseases; yet, they are not well-established in hospitals in Saudi Arabia. Aim: To determine the main barriers for setting up PR programs in Saudi Arabia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Health care providers involved in treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients were recruited from 22 general government hospitals. Data were collected using questionnaires: Full version if they had heard about PR before the study, and a short version if they had not heard about PR before. Results: A total of 123 health care providers were recruited (physicians [n = 44], nurses [n = 49], and respiratory therapists/technicians [n = 30]). Only 3.2% of the recruited health care providers had heard about PR programs before. According to the health care providers, the main barriers for setting up PR programs were a lack of (1) hospital capacity (75.6%), (2) trained health care providers (72.4%), and (3) funds (48.0%). There were significant differences in barriers reported by the health care providers. Compared to physicians, nurses were more likely to nominate the PR costs as a barrier (18.0% vs. 38.8%; P < 0.05). Conclusion: There is a worrisome lack of knowledge regarding content and benefits of PR programs among Saudi health care providers treating COPD patients. These findings imply that improving awareness and increasing education of the health care providers regarding PR will be required before PR can be more widely implemented as an integral treatment modality for patients with COPD in Saudi Arabia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Barriers
  • chronic obstructive
  • general
  • hospitals
  • pulmonary disease
  • rehabilitation
  • Saudi Arabia


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