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Patient Oriented Evidence that Matters

Introduction COPD POEM PDF
The COPDX Plan
Confirm diagnosis & assess severity
Optimise function
Prevent deterioration
Develop support network & self-management plan
eXacerbations manage appropriately
Review of drug use in COPD
Appendix One - Resources and contacts

D Develop support network & self management plan

Self-management plan

Patients with chronic illness who participate in self-management have better outcomes than those who do not. In asthma a self-management plan focuses on fine-tuning pharmacological interventions in response to day-to-day variations in lung function, however in COPD, pharmacological treatment is less effective and self-management plans require a more patient-centred approach.

A COPD self-management plan should include the following components:

  • Reminder of day to day medications.
  • Lifestyle tips to improve functional status and avoid exacerbations.
  • Early recognition of exacerbations.
  • Prompt response to exacerbations, including self-medication with prednisone and/or antibiotics.

See ‘Appendix One - Resources and contacts’ for a COPD self-management plan.

Psychosocial functioning

Psychosocial support is essential and can be provided through local Asthma Societies and some COPD groups.

Carers (often family members) are critical to the care of patients with COPD. This often results in physical and emotional health problems for the carers and may threaten their relationships.

COPD impacts greatly on a person's ability to function in the community. Depression, anxiety and panic are frequent complications. Patients with COPD may fear that the end of their lives will be miserable and they will eventually suffocate to death.

Conventional pharmacotherapy is often useful for depression and choice of therapy should be made on the usual clinical criteria, but patients need to be carefully monitored for side effects such as aggravation of sleep disturbance or interference with respiratory control. Cognitive behaviour therapy can be beneficial.

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