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Hospice Care for Advanced Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects more than 24 million Americans and is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. The added support of hospice care allows advanced COPD patients to manage their symptoms at home and focus on the people and things that matter most.

About Advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD is an inflammatory lung disease that obstructs airflow from the lungs. Advanced COPD is the later stage of the illness when symptoms are not responsive to treatment and continually worsening.

Signs of advanced pulmonary disease may include:

  • Multiple coexisting conditions, in addition to COPD
  • Resting O2 Sats 88% or Lower
  • No response to bronchodilators
  • Shortness of breath at rest

How do I know if I’m ready for in-home hospice support for my COPD?

Our hospice physician, in collaboration with the patient’s attending physician, will determine if a patient is eligible for hospice at home based on a prognosis of six months or less if their end-stage pulmonary disease runs its normal course.

Some signs that an end-stage COPD patient may be ready for hospice are:

  • Shortness of breath at rest
  • Fatigued with activities of daily living
  • Nonresponsive to their metered dose rescue inhalers
  • Continuous oxygen with levels still below 88%
  • More frequent hospitalizations due to COPD exacerbations
  • Progressive unintentional weight loss
  • Persistent rapid heart rate at rest
  • Increased physician visits due to recurrent pulmonary infections
  • Persistent/recurring pneumonia
Learn more

Each patient’s plan of care is tailored to meet their unique care needs. In general, home hospice care is about more:

  • Quality of life
  • Focus on personal goals
  • Normal activities
  • Physical and emotional support for the patient and family
  • Symptom and pain management
  • Resources, supplies and equipment
  • Counseling and respite services

Hospice services for COPD patients

Elara Caring offers comprehensive hospice services that include nursing care, aide assistance, social work services, spiritual care and other support.

Hospice nurses, for example, assess and help manage a patient’s pain and symptoms. They are trained caregivers who provide hands-on patient care and comfort the family while also teaching them how to take the best care of their loved one.

Aides are certified nursing assistants who provide personal care, such as bathing, dressing or mouth care. They ease the burden on family caregivers by assisting with activities like light housekeeping.

Social workers provide emotional and psychosocial support to the patient and family. They coordinate the logistics of the patient’s care and help with financial concerns, funeral planning or connection to other community resources.

Other members of the hospice team include physicians, spiritual care coordinators, volunteers and bereavement coordinators (who provide bereavement services to families for 13 months).

Elara Caring also offers a diagnosis-specific program, Caring Breaths, designed for COPD patients and their families.

Get in touch with Elara Caring

Contact your local Elara Caring branch for more information or ask your physician if skilled home health with Elara Caring may be right for you.

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