What is COPD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic respiratory condition that causes inflammation and blockage of the airways, making it difficult for people to breathe. COPD is highly prevalent especially among those aged 60 and older. According to the CDC, more than 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and it is the 3rd leading cause of death in the country. The two main forms of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis is characterized by a long-term cough with mucus, while emphysema is a condition in which the air sacs in the lungs are damaged, causing difficulty in breathing.
Causes & Comorbidities
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, accounting for 80% of COPD deaths. Exposure to air pollution, dust, and chemicals in the workplace also increases the risk of developing COPD. Additionally, genetic factors such as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a rare genetic disorder that causes COPD, can increase the risk of developing COPD. Preventing COPD requires avoiding risk factors such as cigarette smoke, secondhand smoke, and air pollution. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and managing other health conditions can help reduce the risk of COPD. It is also essential to be aware of the symptoms of COPD, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing, and seek medical attention if they persist.
Living with COPD
COPD is a progressive disease that cannot be cured, but it can be managed with proper treatment and care. There are several treatments available for COPD, including medications, oxygen therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation. Medications such as bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and antibiotics help manage symptoms and prevent complications. Oxygen therapy is often prescribed to help patients with COPD breathe more easily. Pulmonary rehabilitation, which involves a combination of exercise, education, and support, can help patients with COPD improve their breathing, maintain mobility, and enhance their quality of life.
In addition to medical treatment, a 3-pronged approach to live in care at home is essential for effective management of COPD. This approach involves coordinated care between Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) caregivers, skilled nursing staff, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists. To ensure the best outcomes for individuals with COPD, it is critical that all 3 types of care providers work together in a coordinated approach, so that all day to day care provision is conducted in a consistent and uniform manner.
Caregivers & Skilled Nursing
CNA caregivers play a vital role in assisting patients with activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, and meal preparation. They also monitor patients’ symptoms and report any changes to the skilled nursing staff. Skilled nursing staff, including registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, provide medical care such as administering medications, monitoring symptoms, and managing complications.
For patients with COPD, physical therapy can help improve breathing techniques, strengthen respiratory muscles, and increase exercise tolerance. Another benefit of physical therapy for patients with COPD is that it can help improve overall endurance and fitness levels. This can help patients stay active, which is important for maintaining muscle strength and preventing further complications.
Occupational therapists can also provide education on energy conservation techniques, such as pacing activities throughout the day and taking rest breaks as needed. This can help patients maintain their independence and quality of life while managing their symptoms.
Many patients with COPD experience difficulty swallowing, which can lead to choking or aspiration, a condition where food or liquid enters the lungs. Speech therapists can provide exercises to strengthen the muscles used for swallowing and teach patients techniques to reduce the risk of aspiration. Speech therapists can also provide exercises to improve vocal quality and clarity, which can help patients communicate more effectively.
Physical, occupational, and speech therapists help patients improve their breathing, maintain mobility, and enhance their quality of life.
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Benefits and Best Practices
Live in home care for patients with COPD has many benefits, including allowing patients to age in place and maintain their independence. Living with COPD can be challenging, but with proper care and management, individuals can still live a high quality of life. Homecare providers can provide specialized care to help manage COPD symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
Best practices for caring for patients with COPD include regular monitoring of symptoms, medication management, and educating patients on lifestyle modifications such as smoking cessation, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. It is crucial to provide coordinated, high-quality care to prevent hospitalizations and ensure optimal outcomes for patients living
Navigating life with COPD for their parents or senior loved ones is a reality in the Dallas, and Southlake areas. The specific and specialized care required by these individuals and their families requires experienced and trained professionals. With over 18 years of experience providing live-in and in-home care to families across Dallas and Fort Worth, Care Mountain is well-versed in understanding the nuances and specifics of every family needing caregivers to support their loved ones.
Contact us today to help with your caregiving needs. Help your loved ones enjoy their years together in the comfort of their home, while knowing that they are safe and well cared for.
Questions? We’re here to help. Please contact our care staff anytime at [email protected], or by phone at (817-309-7127).