COPD Patient Education

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Background Information
Encompassed primarily by two conditions, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a group of diseases of a debilitating and progressive nature that cause inflammation of the airway and interferes with the ability to breathe (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [NHLBI], 2013). The diseases in COPD have some shared characteristics, including a progressive and irreversible limitation of the airflow associated with an abnormal inflammation of the peripheral bronchioles and considerable damage to lung parenchyma (NHLBI, 2013). In the United States (US), there are approximately 15.7 million adults diagnosed with COPD, although estimates suggest that these figures are higher
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This NP-led education would be inclusive of disease management strategies, including smoking cessation, strict adherence to prescribed medications, strategies to avoid air pollutants or triggers, and recognition of worsening symptoms that may lead to a COPD exacerbation (CDC, 2016). The educational intervention would be comprised of evidence-based strategies geared towards symptom management and decreasing the incidence of COPD exacerbations that would require inpatient management. Additional benefits of the intervention would include an increase in the patient’s tolerance to physical activity as well as an increased quality of life that has been associated with a reduction in the incidence of depression and isolation (Corbridge et al., 2012). An educational intervention is better suited for an evidence-based project as it is more subjective in nature and requires less manipulation of the research variables (University of Southern California, 2017). In contrast, the NP-led educational intervention proposed is less suited for a research project, such as a randomized controlled trial (RCT) as it would be the case if the effectiveness of medications were being researched (University of Southern California, 2017). Lastly, the expected outcome would be a properly educated patient who is able to participate actively in the management of the condition and, as a result, would maximize his of health status and decrease the incidence of COPD exacerbations that would require ED visits or inpatient hospital
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