Helping people live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Helping people live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Jane Scullion Respiratory nurse consultant, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, Leicestershire, England; Stephen Holmes, GP, Park Medical Practice, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term condition characterised by persistent respiratory symptoms and airflow limitation. It is preventable and treatable, but still results in high levels of morbidity and mortality. This affects health service costs, but more importantly it affects the person with COPD, and their relatives and carers.

If healthcare services continue to focus on managing the disease process rather than the person living with the disease itself, they may continue to produce the same outcomes and fail to substantially reduce the burden of the disease. Helping people live with COPD requires clinicians to communicate effectively with people, families and carers and share multidisciplinary team decisions with patients. Clinicians must consider the physical, psychological, social and spiritual implications of the disease.

This article explores how nurses can have a positive effect on the lives of people with COPD, and provides practical strategies and suggestions on giving them effective support.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2019.e1113

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Scullion J, Holmes S (2019) Helping people live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2019.e1113

Published online: 14 August 2019

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