The condition known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, often referred to simply as COPD, causes the airways associated with the lungs to sustain damage which impedes the flow of air. Primary symptoms of COPD include low blood oxygenation, shortness of breath, pain, coughing, weight loss and susceptibility to lung infection. It is not uncommon for those with COPD to experience serious emotional symptoms that can include anxiety, depression, insomnia as well as social withdrawal.
If you receive a diagnosis of COPD, a lung specialist known as a pulmonologist will assist in determining appropriate treatment protocols. It is important to note that COPD symptoms necessitate specific types of management techniques which can sometimes prove difficult. For this reason, palliative care options can become extremely important to many patients.
Benefits of Palliative Care for COPD Patients
In the world of medicine, palliative care is specialized treatment designed to treat pain, symptoms and emotional strain associated with chronic disease such as COPD. Patients can access such care starting at the time of diagnosis through to the very end. The ideal underlying palliative care is to assist patients and their families in living the best possible life as the illness progresses.
A palliative care team may be comprised of nurses, doctors and social workers specially trained in their disciplines to help patients with serious illnesses. For a COPD patient, the team will work alongside the pulmonologist to coordinate care with all involved. Negotiating obstacles presented by the healthcare system can be difficult, but the palliative care professionals understand how best to keep information flowing and how to keep all stakeholders on the same page.
The Palliative Care Tream and Symptom Management
Palliative care professionals work to address COPD symptoms including difficulty breathing and will use drug therapy that may include low-dosage morphine. Depression and anxiety can also be helped with the use of medication, massage and relaxation methods. There is no denying that a diagnosis of COPD almost certainly implicates necessary lifestyle adjustments. A palliative care expert can be an essential part of learning how to remain in the best health possible while living with the disease.
Another key function of a palliative care professional is to facilitate important discussions between patient and family members regarding the right course of action and preferred treatment options. No matter your preference, the palliative care team can help make each stage of the process a bit smoother.
Obtaining Palliative Care
Should you or someone you love have a need for palliative care following a diagnosis of COPD, simply request a referral from the treating physician or contact Harbor Light Hospice today to learn how our palliative care services can benefit you or a loved one.