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Journal of Community Nursing (JCN) | April 2020

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Recognising end of life in patients with COPD: the value of collaborative care

Recognising end of life in patients with COPD: the value of collaborative care
End of Life

Article topics: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Collaborative care, End-of-life care, Holistic care, Multidisciplinary Teams

There are more than one million people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the UK. COPD does not follow a predictable course and differs from person to person. It is often difficult to determine the stage that a person has reached in the condition: while some patients will present with a gradual decline, others may remain stable for years, and some will require hospital admission for respiratory support. The uncertainties around the nature and progression of COPD make decisions about end-of-life (EOL) and starting EOL care challenging. This article explores some of the indicators of decline in a person with COPD, including exacerbations, cognitive dysfunction, sarcopenia, depression and anxiety. It also discusses the importance of starting appropriate EOL discussion with patients, as well as the many benefits of multidisciplinary team working when it comes to recognising care needs and enhancing patients’ quality of life.

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