Care Transitions:  Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - Pt. 3: Post- Discharge Care

May 25, 2012

Upon discharge, COPD patients should do the following:

  • Try to eliminate all pulmonary irritants, such as tobacco smoke
  • Keep the living areas of the home as dust-free as possible
  • Encourage fluid intake to help keep the secretions liquid
  • Discourage excessive amounts of both hot and cold liquids and foods 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 such as: increased fatigue, change in color, nervousness, irritability, change in the color and amount of sputum, low grade fever
  • Encourage frequent small meals
  • Encourage snacking on high calorie, high protein snacks
  • Encourage physical activity such as walking to increase the Client's breathing depth and capacity
  • Maintain a balanced schedule of activity and rest

If any signs or symptoms present themselves, such as fatigue, change in color, nervousness and continued irritability the Caregiver should notify the office, and the Client's family immediately as this could be an exacerbation of the COPD and lead to a re-admission to the hospital.