COPD - adults - discharge
You were in the hospital to treat breathing problems that are caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD damages your lungs. This makes it hard to breathe and get enough oxygen.
You got oxygen in the hospital to help you breathe better, and you may need to use oxygen at home. Your doctor may have changed some of your COPD medicines during your hospital stay.
To build up strength:
Build your strength even when you are sitting.
Ask your doctor whether you need to use oxygen during your activities. Also ask whether you should do an exercise and conditioning program such as pulmonary rehabilitation.
Know how and when to take your COPD drugs.
Eat smaller meals more often -- 6 smaller meals a day. It might be easier to breathe when your stomach is not full. Do not drink a lot of liquid before eating, or with your meals.
Ask your doctor what foods to eat to get more energy.
Keep your lungs from becoming more damaged.
Talk to your doctor if you feel depressed or anxious.
Having COPD makes it easier for you to get infections. Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you should get a pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine.
Wash your hands often; always after you go to the bathroom and when you are around people who are sick.
Stay away from crowds. Ask any visitors with colds to wear masks or to postpone their visits.
Place items you use a lot in spots where you do not have to reach or bend over to get them.
Use a cart with wheels to move things around the house and kitchen. Use an electric can opener, dishwasher, and other things that will make your chores easier to do. Use cooking tools (knives, peelers, and pans) that are not heavy.
To save energy:
Never change how much oxygen is flowing in your oxygen setup without asking your doctor.
Always have a back-up supply of oxygen in the home or with you when you go out. Keep the phone number of your oxygen supplier with you at all times. Learn how to use oxygen safely at home.
Your hospital doctor or nurse may ask you to make a follow-up visit with:
Call your doctor if, your breathing is:
Also call your doctor if:
Anderson B, Conner K, Dunn C, et al. Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). https://www.icsi.org/_asset/yw83gh/COPD.pdf. Accessed May 5, 2014.
Balkissoon R, Lommatzsch S, Carolan B, Make B. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a concise review. Med Clin N Am. 2011;95:1125-1141.
Evensen AE. Management of COPD exacrbations. Am Fam Physician. 2010;81:607-613.
Shapiro SD, Reilly JJ Jr., Rennard SI. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al. Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 39.
Updated by: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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