Care for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

If someone you love is living with COPD, having the support of a trained Amada caregiver can help limit flare-ups and motivate self-care.

Nearly 24 million Americans suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, one of the leading causes of hospitalization for the elderly. Managing COPD can be especially tricky for the loved ones of a senior patient because the main components of the disease — dyspnea (shortness of breath) and fatigue — greatly interfere with or limit activities of daily living (ADLs). Chances are the senior patient will experience a COPD flare-up (an exacerbation of symptoms) that needs immediate attention.

COPD’s specific signs and severity vary greatly by patient, plus symptoms may improve or worsen over time. As a result, managing care for a loved one with COPD can bring several new responsibilities to family members. Having support from a knowledgeable Amada caregiver not only can a difference in helping a senior loved one maintain his or her health but also inspire a positive outlook, especially if symptoms should worsen. Studies have shown that senior patients supported by an in-home caregiver feel more motivated to heed their prescribed pulmonary rehabilitation plan, as well as follow the action plan set by their medical team for dealing with exacerbations when they occur.

Because of their training and knowledge, Amada caregivers:

• Can help monitor the senior patient’s condition by letting members of the family and health team know when COPD flare-ups occur.

• Know how to assist the senior patient with exercise prescribed as part of pulmonary rehabilitation.

• Understand the importance of medication reminders, particularly for COPD patients who are taking multiple medications at various times daily.

• Efficiently and patiently provide practical help with everyday activities like meal preparation, dressing, light housekeeping, walking and others.

• Know that COPD often are dealing with chronic pain, and avoid taking the senior patient’s irritability or bad mood personally.