At Santé, we have treated a number of patients suffering from COPD in nearly every setting. Patients often have questions about how they will receive care as their COPD progresses as well as what kind of changes they can expect in their care model. Here, we’ll provide a general overview.
The Progression of COPD
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is an inflammatory disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Because COPD is a progressive disease, most patients experience the disease in stages. The stage of the disease and its impact on the patient’s ability to perform activities of daily living can impact the patient’s care model.
If caught early, patients can be diagnosed with COPD when they start experiencing initial symptoms of the disease. They may notice shortness of breath with physical exertion, for example, or an unexplained cough. Increased production of sputum may also be present.
Patients who are diagnosed in Stage I typically do not require home health care. Instead, they receive care through outpatient clinic appointments. Early stages of COPD can go unnoticed, however, as many patients are not aware of their symptoms.
Patients are most often diagnosed during Stage II of the disease. This is when symptoms become hard to ignore and begin interfering with their daily life. Much of the care required during Stage II can be received through periodic clinic visits and a treatment plan the patient carries out at home.
However, exacerbations of the disease – that is, periods of time when the symptoms flare up – may require short-term hospitalization and a possible post-acute rehab stay. Santé provides care to many COPD patients in the post-acute setting and sends them home when they are strong enough. These stays are usually short-term.
Stage III COPD can dramatically impact the patient’s ability for independent self-care at home. At this advanced stage, COPD is characterized by severe shortness of breath, significant mucus production, and dramatic fatigue. Patients suffering from stage III COPD are often good candidates for home health care services. Our home health aides can assist with light housekeeping, dressing, and bathing while our home health nurses can ensure you receive your medications and treatments as prescribed.
To learn more about how the caring providers at Santé can meet your needs, stop by one of our local facilities today. We can work with you and your doctor to assess your needs and care for you if afflicted with COPD.
Contact us here for more information.