Outpatient Care of Patients with COPD
The goal of this article is to assist nurses to provide better care to outpatients with COPD.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. The World Health Organization reports that it’s the third leading cause of death in the world and that worldwide COPD mortality in both high- and low-income countries is expected to double by 2030. The condition also contributes to other diseases, such as coronary artery disease and hypertension.
The multifaceted pathophysiology of COPD causes progressive symptoms that require comprehensive management. Nurses care for patients with COPD in a variety of outpatient settings (home, pulmonary rehabilitation, and clinics); acute care settings are reserved for those who are acutely ill. It’s important that nurses be able to identify patients with COPD early in the disease process and provide education to help prevent exacerbations (sudden worsening of respiratory symptoms that requires additional treatment or therapy), decrease comorbidities, and improve quality of life.
Key Learning Outcomes
- Describe the assessment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Describe pharmacologic management of COPD.
- Discuss nonpharmacologic management of COPD.
Erin Morgan, DNP, FNP-BC
Erin Morgan is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.