How to Take Care of COPD Patients

Updated on October 22, 2021

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COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is when a patient experiences an airflow blockage that causes breathing problems. Individuals who smoke are at higher risk of acquiring COPD. 

Women are also more susceptible to this condition than men. If you have a loved one suffering from COPD, it is best to help them out by following these tips on how to take care of patients with this disease. 

Monitor the Medication 

Medication is one of the most crucial things in helping manage a COPD patient’s condition. Unfortunately, as of the moment, there is no cure for this condition, yet treatments are available to help slow down the regression of this illness. 

This treatment is also vital in managing the symptoms the patient is experiencing. That is why you must monitor the patient’s medication. Make sure that they take the proper medication at the right time. 

It is also your responsibility to ensure that all the medication the patient needs is available to avoid any missed medications. COPD treatment medications are quite expensive. For example, Symbicort, a combination medication inhaler used to manage asthma and COPD, costs around $200 to $400 per inhaler. 

This is why many COPD patients are having difficulty with their medication budget. Hence, it is important to grab a coupon for Symbicort or any other medications used to treat COPD. 

Encourage Them to Quit Smoking 

Because smoking is the number one cause of COPD, it would be best to encourage and help the patient quit smoking if they haven’t stopped yet. Quitting cigarette use can also help slow down COPD progression and hinder it from getting worse.

If the patient is struggling to quit cigarettes, you can give them nicotine therapy by using a nicotine patch or gum. You can also do further research about smoking alternatives or nicotine therapy online. 

If you care for your loved one, you will find time to conduct in-depth research to help them quit smoking. Moreover, if you are also a smoker, it is also best that you or other household members stop smoking. This will help keep your patient from danger and also inspire them to quit. 

Visit the Doctor Regularly

COPD patients should set regular appointments with their doctors. As the patient’s primary caregiver, you should accompany the patient in all of their doctor’s appointments. This way, you’ll know the doctor’s orders and instructions personally and adapt them accordingly. 

It’s also a great way to ensure that all questions are answered. During the doctor’s appointment, ask all the necessary questions you and the patient have, such as:

  • Is the patient’s condition getting worse?
  • What to do if the condition gets worse?
  • Do we need to be referred to a pulmonary rehabilitation program?
  • Is the patient allowed to exercise?
  • If so, what exercises are allowed for the patient?

It is also best to share any difficulties with the doctor, whether from the patient’s part or your part as a primary caregiver. Your doctor will be glad to offer you some tips and encouragement, which will help you improve how you care for the patient. 

Convert Your Home into a COPD-Friendly Environmental 

If you want to provide your patient with a comfortable living space, it is best to make your home COPD-friendly. COPD patients experience shortness of breath even with the slightest activity they do. 

This is one of the things you must consider when making your home COPD-friendly. You can add a chair in the shower so it won’t be inconvenient for them to take one. They can sit and enjoy their shower without catching their breath.

You must also make sure to dust the house. Change the curtains and bed covers regularly to avoid dust from accumulating, which can affect the patient’s breathing. Declutter the house and make it as clean as possible all the time. 

Keep the Air Clean 

Aside from constant dusting, it is also best to avoid using strongly scented household chemicals such as air fresheners, air sanitizers, and cleaning products. Ensure that the entire house has proper ventilation so that air can easily circulate in and out of the house.

When handling COPS patients, you must avoid using strong fragrances, lotions, and hair sprays as it can worsen their breathlessness. Instead, keep all things simple, especially things that could trigger COPD symptoms. 

Encourage Them to Stay Active

Exercising may be hard for COPD patients as it can cause breathlessness. However, exercising helps strengthen your respiratory muscles, which, in the long run, improves breathing.

Exercise moderately and only do the kind of exercise the doctor allows or suggests. Always ask your doctor first if you want to engage your patient in exercising. 

If your patient is allowed to exercise, you should exercise too. You can tag along with your patient while walking so that they will be inspired to do the activity. 

Start Making a Plan

Now that you know the important things about taking care of a COPD patient, it is now time to make a plan. Using the information you learned in this article, establish a customized plan according to you and your patient’s needs. With this, you can be sure that you are giving the best care you can provide. 

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