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Diagnosis Specific Programs: COPD

In an effort to improve our services, Compassionate Care has been rolling out diagnosis specific programs to better assist our clients. To date, we have released programs on CHF, heart attack, knee replacement, and hip replacement. The next one is on COPD.

What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases, asthma.

Tobacco smoke is the number one cause of COPD. Secondary causes that can increase a person’s risk include exposure to air pollutants, genetic factors, and respiratory infections.

COPD symptoms include coughing, production of large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Symptoms of severe copd include increased frequency of colds and upper respiratory infections, weight loss, decreased muscle endurance, and swelling in the feet, ankles or legs.

Empowering You and Your Loved One

Compassionate Care believes every individual has the right to understand their plan of care, to make choices about supports and services they receive, to live with dignity, and to live as independently as possible.

Compassionate Care supports individuals living with copd by providing high quality, proactive, result oriented and compassionate care for each client in the comfort of home.

Client Goals:

  • Symptom management
  • Avoid exacerbations of COPD
  • No change in level of independence
  • Oxygen safety (when oxygen is ordered)
  • Avoid lung irritants (tobacco smoke and air pollution)
  • Avoid unnecessary hospitalization

Always call your doctor or nurse if you have:

  • Increased shortness of breath
  • Worsening cough
  • Fever
  • Sputum that is green or brown in color
  • Coughing up blood

Call 911 IMMEDIATELY if you have:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Too short of breath to talk easily
  • Lips or fingernails turn blue or gray
  • Confusion or decreased alertness
  • Complaint of a ‘racing’ or very rapid heartbeat

Call 911 immediately for any life-threatening emergency.


  • Encourage the client to do activities slowly to avoid severe shortness of breath. The client may need to stop and rest frequently to catch his/her breath.
  • Assist the client to put items that are used most often within easy reach. Many clients benefit from using a small wheeled cart to move things around inside the home.
  • Assist the client to keep things used most often on the first floor of the home to avoid using stairs unnecessarily. 
  • Encourage or assist the client to wear loose fitting clothes.
  • Remind the client to take medications exactly as prescribed.
  • Assist or encourage the client to eat healthy.
    • Fatigue and shortness of breath can make eating difficult.
    • Many copd clients benefit from smaller and more frequent meals.
    • Many copd clients are able to eat more easily after resting for a while.
  • Assist the client with meal preparation to avoid increased shortness of breath.
    • Assist the client in selecting very simple meals to prepare when he/she is alone.
    • Ensure the pans and other items the client will need are in easy reach.
  • Assist the client with housekeeping chores to avoid increased shortness of breath. Ensure basic cleaning supplies the client might need while he/she is alone are within easy reach.
  • Be aware of oxygen safety in the home (if oxygen is ordered).
    • Assist the client in posting ‘No Smoking/Oxygen in Use’ signs on the doors. (Free sign)
    • Ensure oxygen concentrator has at least 12 inches of clearance in all directions.
    • Review oxygen safety guidelines with the client.

Compassionate Care’s Goals

Compassionate Care is implementing these diagnosis specific programs for several reasons:

  • Empower clients and their families to successfully manage care in the home setting
  • Educate our office staff to better understand each of these diagnoses and the care needs
  • Educate our caregivers to better understand each of these diagnoses and the care needs
  • Promote successful transition back into the community for clients leaving hospital/skilled nursing facility
  • Reduce the number of avoidable readmissions to the hospital for our clients

Download the COPD diagnosis program.


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