Living with COPD
Caring for a Loved One With COPD
When you care for someone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at home, you may have numerous responsibilities.
One of the most important things to do when your loved one is diagnosed with COPD is to learn as much as you can about the disease, says Barry Make, MD, co-director of the COPD program at National Jewish Health and professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary sciences and critical care medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. COPD caregivers "need to understand the disease as well as the patient does," he says.
Talk to your COPD patient's doctors about what tasks you will need to perform. It is also important to seek support from your loved one's medical team, and other friends and family members.
COPD Home Care: Specific Tasks
Some tasks you may need to perform as a COPD caregiver:
- Encourage pulmonary rehabilitation.Pulmonary rehabilitation consists of prescribed exercise, nutrition counseling, and disease education. Rehab can improve quality of life, increase strength, and reduce shortness of breath and other COPD symptoms. As a caregiver, you can encourage your loved one to go to rehab and even attend rehab sessions with your loved one. "Not only should the patient be in [pulmonary rehabilitation], but their spouse or significant other should attend as well," says Dr. Make.
- Help with medications.Depending on your loved one's symptoms and severity of disease, he may need to take multiple medications at a variety of times throughout the day. You can help keep track of these medications and make sure your loved one is taking them by creating a chart that tracks each medication, its dosage, and time of day it is to be taken. You can use the chart to check off when the medication is taken as directed.
Attend doctor's appointments."I think that the spouse or significant other of the COPD patient should go into the physician visits as well as the patient," says Make. You can help your loved one remember what the doctor said and make sure all questions are answered. "One of the best things a caregiver can do before they bring home their newly diagnosed COPD patient is ask a lot of questions," says Kitty Weary, of West Yellowstone, Mont., who provided COPD care for her father, husband, and mother.
Weary suggests writing down all of the questions you and your loved one have in a notebook and leaving spaces to fill in answers from the medical team. "All of this new stuff is getting fired at you, and there is a good chance you won't remember anything," she says. At the visits, you can learn how to use any prescribed equipment, which may include supplemental oxygen, a handheld bronchodilator inhaler, or a nebulizer.
Monitor your loved one's condition.Talk with the medical team about the warning signs of an exacerbation (an episode of worsened symptoms), and when you should seek medical help. In general, you should call the doctor when your loved one has:
- Excessive trouble breathing during everyday activities
- Greater than usual coughing or coughing-related chest pain
- Increased mucus production or change in appearance of mucus
- Swelling in the hands or feet
- Cramping of muscles
- Tiredness or weakness
- Trouble sleeping that is related to shortness of breath
Caring for a COPD patient at home can be challenging. But by following the medical team's instructions and encouraging your loved one to adhere to her COPD treatment regimen, you can play an important role in improving your loved one's quality of life.
Video: Tips for Living with COPD
How to Pack for a Trip to China
How to Prepare for Bypass Surgery
How can one prevent Lazy Eye
How to Clean Dentures With Vinegar
How to Make Pumpkin and Roast Capsicum Soup
The Best Foods To Eat Before The Gym To Boost Your Workout
How to Make Diaper Changes Less Unpleasant
The Nation’s Favourite Advert Is Revealed But We’re Not So Sure
Womens Spanx Faux Leather Leggings
Do Bunnies Lay Eggs Is an Actual Question People Ask Google
How to Use Herbal Teas to Decrease Inflammation
The 12 Best Things About Bachelorette Parties
5 Ways Your Workout Can Kill You
A Few Ways to Cope With Panic