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Pulmonary Reabilitation in COPD Patients - Essay Example

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Compare and contrast the outcome differences between an outpatient hospital-based pulmonary rehabilitation program and a home-care pulmonary rehabilitation program in patients with COPD NAME CLASS Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a term used to describe chronic bronchitis or emphysema (commonly both) and the resultant narrowing of the airways (Lundback et al, 2003)…
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Pulmonary Reabilitation in COPD Patients
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Download file to see previous pages There are a number of ways of treating COPD (although it cannot be cured) commonly involving pulmonary rehabilitation, a term used to describe various therapeutic approaches with a holistic approach. Pulmonary rehabilitation can occur in a number of settings and involve a wide variety of approaches depending on the patient and the treating physician. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the outcomes of an outpatient hospital-based pulmonary rehabilitation program and a home-care pulmonary rehabilitation program in patients with COPD. By exploring the nature of COPD and the available programs it will become obvious that each has strengths and weaknesses, many of which depend on the prognosis of the patient. There is wide variety within these programs, often producing different health outcomes for the patient, and these are important in tackling such a common and debilitating disease. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) The importance of COPD can be partially highlighted by how common it is. In the United States, it is estimated that one in 20 people suffer from COPD, which totals about 5% (Fabbri & Herd, 2003). COPD is more common in areas which are deprived than those which are considered affluent. It is really important that COPD is diagnosed early because it gradually worsens with time, leading to death; early diagnosis and immediate treatment can slow this course (Celli et al, 2004). COPD is worse in those with extremely severe airflow obstruction and extreme shortness of breath, and patients exhibiting these symptoms may have a poorer prognosis and need a more rigorous scheme of treatment (Lacasse et al, 1996). Diagnosis of COPD is fairly simple. Firstly, the patient should be asked whether they have a history of smoking as this is the most important risk-factor and COPD is unlikely to be found in a non-smoker unless they have a particularly dangerous environment (Lacasse et al, 1996). A spirometer measuring the forced expiratory volume from the lungs is then used to ascertain whether the lung volume is normal. It should be noted that values for forced expiratory volume vary greatly depending on the sex and size of the individual. Chest x-rays can also be used in cases where diagnosis is not clear, as COPD patients can show signs of hyperinflation, a flattened diaphragm and bullae (Fabbri & Herd, 2003). Other lung diseases which show the same symptoms of COPD, such as pneumonia, often have very visible symptoms on x-ray (Fabbri & Herd, 2003) and therefore this technique is important for ruling out differential diagnoses. The treatments for COPD vary. The most important thing for those diagnosed is to quit smoking, as smoking is the most common cause and most dangerous environmental exacerbation (Celli et al, 2004). Patients may receive help with this from the medical authority as part of a wider treatment program. There are also pharmaceuticals that help with the symptoms of COPD. These commonly include bronchodilators which relax the smooth muscle around the airways, improving the airflow and relieving shortness o breath (Lacasse et al, 1996). Corticosteroids are also often used, although there is some debate about how useful these actually are in the treatment of COPD (Fabbri & Herd, 2003). It is also important for the patient to have adequate nutrition, as being severely underweight or overweight ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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