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Care Transitions:  Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - Post Discharge Care

May 27, 2012

An obvious answer to this question is to watch for the symptoms we described in the previous post.  Responding quickly to the symptoms may be one of the most effective measure for keeping a COPD patient out of the hospital.  That said, here are a few pointers on post-discharge care:

  • Try to eliminate all pulmonary irritants, such as cigarette smoke
  • Kee the living areas of the home as dust-free as possible
  • Encourage fluid intake to help keep secretions liquid
  • Discourage excessive amounts of both hot and cold liquids and food which may provoke an irritating cough
  • Avoid dairy products, as these tend to increase the production of sputum
  • Recognize the early signs of the onset of respiratory infection, including fatigue, change in coloration, nervousness or irritability
  • Encourage freqent small meals.  Encourage snacking on high calorie, high protein snacks
  • Encourage physical activity such as walking to increase breathing depth and capacity (as tolerated)
  • Maintain a balanced schedule of activity and rest

Our next blog will shift the focus to the third of the four conditions being measured by CMS for hospital readmissions:  Myocardial Infarction, or heart attack.