Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious, progressive lung condition. An umbrella term that encompasses conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, COPD restricts a patient’s ability to breathe fully and comfortably. COPD is diagnosed in four stages, ranging from mild to severe and end-stage.
Palliative care and hospice care are both compatible with COPD treatment and can help to alleviate discomfort and improve quality of life.
Palliative Care for COPD
The goal of palliative care is to help patients and families achieve a better quality of life by assisting with advance care planning, relieving symptoms of COPD and establishing goals of care. Palliative care is for patients at any stage of their illness, starting with a diagnosis. Patients can choose to receive palliative care even if they are still receiving curative treatment for their COPD.
Hospice Care for COPD
Hospice care helps patients coping with end-stage COPD by alleviating the pain and discomfort caused by a severely restricted ability to breathe. COPD patients who are admitted to HPCG’s hospice care will receive with expert, in-home medical care to help them live with dignity and comfort as their disease progresses. Click here to learn more about the benefits of hospice care.
End-stage COPD is characterized by severe, irreversible damage to the lungs and airways. End-stage COPD patients have difficulty breathing at rest and struggle with the basic activities of daily living. They may rely on 24/7 supplemental oxygen to breathe. Often, end-stage COPD patients will suffer from heart problems caused by lack of oxygen.
Following are signs that you or your loved one coping with COPD is eligible for hospice care:
- Severe shortness of breath (dyspnea) during everyday tasks, or even when at rest.
- Reduced effectiveness of medications that previously provided relief.
- Increased visits to the emergency department or hospitalizations for breathing complications, lung infections or respiratory failure.
- Accelerated resting heart rate (tachycardia) of more than 100 beats per minute.
- Right-sided heart failure.
- Loss of appetite, often due to shortness of breath.
- Rapid and ongoing weight loss.
- Crackling sound during breath intake.
- Barrel chest.
- Constant wheezing.
- Outgoing breaths that last very long.
“Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro exceeded expectations. My mother received the care she deserved and we wanted for her. The level of caring made the journey less painful for my mother and all those who loved her. Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro was a blessing.”— The loved one of an HPCG patient