End Of Life Care For Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Patients

Grandma talking to her granddaughter

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common cause of illness and death. It is currently the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, and the importance of End-of-Life care for end-stage patients with COPD is increasing. Once the disease progresses, patients with COPD always experience an acute exacerbation. If a patient with COPD is admitted to the hospital and they have acute exacerbation, then the prognosis of these patients is poor. This is when patient is considered end-stage COPD. When compared with advanced lung cancer patients, patients with COPD have more deterioration of quality of life, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients have more symptoms than other chronic diseases; hence, much end-of-life care is needed. However, these patients with COPD are not treated with much care as it is supposed. Instead, they experience many lives sustained interventions, end of life care for these symptoms are not sufficient. In caring for patients with severe COPD, consideration should be given to implementing palliative treatments more aggressively. To improve end of life care for patients with advanced COPD, it is also essential to establish a local support system for caring for these patients.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of COPD Patients?

COPD includes conditions like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These conditions prevent your lungs from bringing oxygen in and getting rid of carbon dioxide.

If you’re at the end-stage, you’ll probably feel constantly out of breath and without energy. Outbreaks always come out more often and without warning. These episodes can be fatal even if you recover, and your lungs may be in worse shape than before.

Signs that your condition is severe include:

  • Chest pain due to lung infections or coughing
  • Trouble sleeping, especially when lying flat
  • Foggy thinking because of lack of oxygen
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cooking, getting dressed, and other daily tasks get more and more difficult
  • Breathlessness even at rest
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Right-sided heart failure due to COPD
  • More emergency room visits and hospital stays

Barriers to End of Life Care COPD

  • Unexpected death at the time of an acute exacerbation generates significant communication challenges. It is usually only possible to discover patients’ end-of-life preferences if these have been established in advance.
  • Another critical barrier to end-of-life care is that misconceptions about both COPD and palliative care abound. Good End of Life care is impossible without recognition that death may occur prematurely.
  • Palliative care specialists lack the correct information resources to inform them about the management of non-malignant disease, and respiratory specialists require training in the skills of palliation.
  • Finally, it is increasingly recognized that a lack of research evidence on end-of-life care is hindering service development.

A Compassionate and Caring Team

The route to improving the quality of EOL provision for COPD patients is not easy. Talk to your doctors and care team from Ameriprime hospice care—they can help you understand what to expect and how to make the most of your remaining time. Are you in Dallas, Richardson, Carrolton, Garland, and surrounding TX communities and want help from our team? Don’t hesitate to contact us at (972) 787-0949 or on the contact form on our website.

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