Caring for a Loved One with COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. According to the American Lung Association, COPD affects over 35 million people in the U.S. although only 11 million of them have been diagnosed. The disease can cause long term disability and is actually the third leading cause of death in our country. While COPD does not have a cure, it can be treated and managed. If you are caring for someone with COPD, we have tips to help you and your loved one breathe easier.
Once diagnosed, a patient can use prescription inhalers, anti-inflammatory medications, and oxygen therapy or bronchodilators to make it easier to breathe. Physical therapy can help the patient learn to breathe easier. In order to prevent COPD from getting worse, the patient must stop smoking.
Taking Care at Home
At home, the caregiver needs to focus on ensuring that the patient takes the appropriate doses of medication or oxygen therapy at the recommended times. The caregiver needs to pay careful attention to the patient and communicate any health changes to the medical personnel. Caring for a loved one typically includes helping with day-to-day activities such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, washing laundry, and doing errands. The caregiver will also be the point person to drive and accompany patient to doctor appointments.
COPD Care Giving Tips
Taking care of someone with COPD can be rewarding but also exhausting. As a caregiver to a COPD patient, it’s important to employ the following tips:
- Keep the COPD patient away from cold weather as it can exacerbate symptoms.
- Recommend that your loved one begin breathing and exercise programs such as Better Breathers Club or Lung Help Line. These programs can provide not only important exercises to help patients exercise their lungs, but also social support.
- Form a team of family members, friends, and medical providers to proactively communicate any health developments and provide the right care.
- Find some respite and take proper care of yourself, the caregiver. The caregiver must schedule some personal time every day to take a walk, do yoga, listen to music, or just relax with a good book or a movie.
- Many caregivers use affordable adult daycare programs or in-home help. Adult daycare provides a community environment with art, music, exercise, games, and/or therapy. In-home nursing aides can help with meal preparation, bathing, grooming, medical management, checking vital signs, toileting, as well as laundry, household cleaning, and transportation.
Do you have questions about caring for a loved one with COPD? Expicare can help. Contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com. For more information on caring for a loved one who has COPD, check out this link to the American Lung Association’s information on COPD.
Expicare Nursing, Inc.
Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.