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COPD - Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis

What Is COPD?

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a chronic lung disease that blocks the airways. The common combination leading to COPD is Chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Bronchitis causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes resulting in narrow and clogged airways. Emphysema destroys some of the air sacs in the lungs.


Smoking is the most common cause. Exposure to chemical fumes and organic dust (grain, cotton, or wood) can also cause COPD.

Signs And Symptoms Of COPD

  • Shortness of Breathe
  • Coughing and sputum
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Recurrent chest infections or bronchitis
  • Fluid build-up (swollen ankles and bluish skin)
  • Barrel-shaped chest

Instruction On Preventative Management

  • Maintain proper weight
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol
  • Treat infection early
  • Reduce exposure to environmental hazards
  • Use respiratory devices properly
  • Get a flu vaccination

Report And Escalate To Care Teams

  • Fever
  • Change in sputum color, consistency and amount
  • Increased shortness of breath
  • Change in cough pattern

Home Health Care Assists With Coping Strategies

  • Instruct on good nutrition: small frequent meals, eating slowly, resting before eating
  • Thin secretions with increased fluids, using a humidifier and using effective breathing methods
  • Instruct on conservation techniques / organize time and space
  • Instruct to avoid fatigue
  • Instruct on exercise program per doctor’s orders
  • Instruction on stress management and relaxation exercises
  • Instruct to exhale during strenuous activity and teach purse lip and abdominal breathing

How Home Care Assists Patients With Chronic COPD?

  • Observation and assessment
  • Cardiac assessment
  • Home safety evaluation
  • Pulse Oximetry
  • IV antibiotics
  • Pain Management
  • Disease process education
  • Diuretic therapy
  • Electrolyte replacement
  • Breathing techniques
  • Monitoring Oxygen/nebulizers/inhalers
  • Lab work
  • Instruction percussion
  • Ambulation techniques
  • Postural drainage
  • Energy conservation
  • Suction
  • Transfer techniques
  • Weight monitoring
  • Assistance with ADLs
  • Fluid intake education
  • Tracheostomy care
  • Instruction in medication regimen
  • Enteral feedings
  • Physical/speech/occupational therapy
  • Social service evaluation

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