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End of life issues in the management of COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive and non-curable disease of the lungs, which is known to be on the increase. Unlike cancer, end-stage COPD is more difficult to recognise and to determine a prognosis. Symptom control, open discussions with patients and their families along with advanced care planning are germaine to delivering good care. This article outlines how to recognise end-stage COPD and discusses the issues in planning end-of-life care and management to facilitate a comfortable and peaceful death.

Margaret Barnett RGN, MSc in Nursing Studies, Diploma COPD & Asthma, COPD Nurse Specialist

Article accepted for publication: February 2012