Patients with COPD who don’t live alone are better off, reports MedPage Today. 

Compared with patients who lived alone, those who lived with a spouse, partner, or other caregiver walked, on average, close to half a mile more each day, the results showed.

And having a live-in spouse or partner caregiver was associated with an 11-fold higher likelihood of participation in a pulmonary rehabilitation program, according to the retrospective analysis of data from the CASCADE (COPD Activity: Serotonin Transporter, Cytokines and Depression) study of depression and functioning among COPD patients, to be published online in Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Earlier studies have shown social support to be a strong predictor of participation in cardiac rehabilitation programs, but the impact of social support on pulmonary rehab utilization and activity among patients with COPD has not been widely studied, the study’s lead author, Huang Nguyen, PhD, of Kaiser Permanente Southern California and the University of Washington at Seattle, told MedPage Today.