C.O.P.D., or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, can be effectively managed in the home by controlling factors which may improve or aggravate symptoms. C.O.P.D. is a group of lung diseases that are characterized by lung damage and blockage. These conditions affect breathing and can eventually cause death if not managed properly. Home caregivers can assist with implementing C.O.P.D. management strategies.
Transition to Home
Many C.O.P.D. patients are hospitalized when the condition is diagnosed. Home caregivers can help with the transition to in-home care by making changes to the home set-up to reduce the amount of strain on the lungs. This may include transitions such as moving bedroom furniture to a first floor instead of a second floor. Home caregivers can also help with transition of care by assisting with daily tasks until the client gains the strength to resume normal activities.
C.O.P.D. rehabilitation strategies center around developing healthy habits. This may include a combination of exercise and nutrition, as well as avoidance of damaging habits such as smoking. Adding a daily exercise routine that is in accordance with physician or physical therapist recommendations can help to improve lung functions and overall strength. Care should be taken to ensure that the exercise program does not cause excessive strain, as this can be counterproductive. Eating a balanced diet may help to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation that may contribute to breathing difficulties.
Home Air Quality
Air quality in the home can have a significant impact on C.O.P.D symptoms. Maintaining cleanliness can help to reduce the presence of irritants such as dust and pet hair in the air. Installing an air purifier or ventilation system may also help to improve air quality. Cold air may worsen C.O.P.D. symptoms, so air temperature should be controlled for best results. Smoke may add to breathing difficulties, so cigarettes, fires, and other sources of smoke should be taken outside.
Medications and inhalers may be prescribed to help open airways and reduce inflammation. Home caregivers can help with medication management by organizing dosage and frequency and helping clients to use medications properly. Breathing machines, nebulizers, and other types of oxygen therapy may also be used to help facilitate healthy breathing. Home caregivers can help seniors to follow doctors’ instructions in using these tools to treat C.O.P.D. When needed, home caregivers can also help clients with transportation to medical appointments and therapy sessions. In the case of an emergency, home caregivers will be there to seek medical assistance quickly.