Supporting Self Management OF Patients Suffering From Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

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Essay topic: Choose a chronic disease from the list below and critically discuss how you would support self- management of your client/patient living with this chronic illness in the community.

Your discussion should include (but NOT be limited to) the following: Main causes and brief pathophysiology (in simple terms - as you would explain it to your patient); impact of the disease on the
individual and family/carers; health promotion; cultural safety; empowerment.
Choose one of the following chronic diseases
b) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Supporting Self Management OF Patients Suffering From Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)


COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive disease that causes difficulty in breathing. The respective disease causes severe coughing that creates large amount of mucus, as well as cause shortness of breathing and chest tightness. This essay is aiming to convey a brief detail of COPD in terms of its symptoms and causes. In addition to that, it will also highlight the strategies for promotion as well as cultural safety regarding COPD. Thesis statement of this study is aiming to prove that COPD is a result of respiration problem and Government of Australia has introduced effective national action plan for this issue.

Cause and brief of COPD

In the healthy lungs after breathing the air travels down the windpipe and into the air ways that are located in the lungs which are referred to as bronchial tubes. As mentioned by Wu (2016), inside the lungs bronchial tubes branch into several smaller tubes that are referred to as the bronchioles. Oxygen then, passes through the air sacs wall into the capillaries. Along with that, carbon dioxide also moves from the capillaries into the air sacs. On the other hand, Wu also suggested that individuals affected with COPD experiences less air flowing in and out of their airways due to different reasons such as airways as well as air sacs lose their elasticity. In addition to that, walls that are present between the air sacs can be destroyed or damaged. Along with that walls can be swelled up or thickened as well as due to the increase in mucus production it can develop clog. As highlighted by Niederseer et al. (2015), tobacco smoke is the significant cause of COPD globally. In addition to that, air pollution, occupational exposure along with respiratory infections is also considered as the important risk factors of the concerned disease. Moreover around 1 to 7 Australians above 40 years have different forms of COPD and half of the people are living with the symptoms of the respective disease which they are not aware of (COPD THE BASICS, 2019). COPD is the serious public health problem as well as it is the significant cause of the chronic morbidity as well as the mortality globally. In addition to that Zwerink et al. (2014) mentioned that the respective disease was the third leading cause of death globally in the year 2010. Along with that, it also causes the significant impact on the society in terms of developing economic burden.  The main symptoms of the concerned disease involve constant coughing, shortness or inability to breathe, increase production of mucus and wheezing. However the symptoms of COPD can be divided in to two categories: mild symptom and moderate COPD.  Mild symptoms tend to come very slowly and they have little or no effect on the individuals. On the other hand, moderate COPD is the progression one where the individuals may notice symptoms in every day and feel quite hard to cope up with the regular activities (COPD THE BASICS, 2019). As stated by Vogelmeier et al. (2017), the chronic airflow limitation that influences COPD is basically developed by the mixture of small airways disease as well as the parenchymal destruction and the small contribution which varies person to person. On a similar note, chronic inflammation basically causes structural alterations, small airway narrowing, and the reduction of the function as well as enhances the respiratory symptoms in the adulthood.

On a wider note, Niederseer et al. (2015), highlighted that, COPD is considered as the third leading cause of death and it has a significant effect on the quality of life as well as daily life activities. Passive smokers such as air from other people smoking as well as chemical dust and air pollution are also the important contributors of the respective disease (COPD Also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Emphysema, 2019).

Impact of disease on service user and family

Caring for the service user has COPD is basically considered as the stressful experience due to the unpredictable disease trajectory. As mentioned by Kuprys-Lipinska and Kuna (2014), the respective disease causes physical as well as mental suffering in terms of reducing the life quality of service user as and limiting their function within the family. This basically influences the function of the whole family. In addition to that, the threat of drastic and unexpected breathlessness attack of the service user haunts the very day life of the individual's family. The constant panic as well as the breathless also causes a serious problem for the service user's family. As mentioned by Strang et al. (2019), caring for the individuals affected with the respective disease experiences intense burden, negative impact on the relationships as well as enhances illness. In addition to that, individual also develops more depression than the individuals who are not in the severe conditions. On a similar note, Strang et al. (2019), highlighted that palliative care is basically the tradition including service user's family in the care. In terms of the individuals suffering from the COPD, the family of the particular individual is represented as the unit of care which is the cornerstone of the palliative care. 

Health promotional strategies for COPD

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed an intense process for the purpose of evaluating the current stage of knowledge regarding the prevention of COPD. This particular process involves the recognition of the public health gaps as well as generating particular goals in order to prevent or control the respective disease (Public Health Strategic Framework for COPD Prevention, 2019). CDC has developed certain goals for care of COPD. These include improvement of awareness, comprehension of treatment, effective collaboration among the stakeholders and improved surveillance for public health data (Public Health Strategic Framework for COPD Prevention, 2019). Along with that, they have also considered to expand the recent health care surveillance system for the purpose of including the relevant information regarding the concerned disease. In the following context, Australian government have also taken different health strategies for reducing or preventing the progression disease such as smoking cessation as well as treatment with medication. In addition to that, strategies also involve oxygen therapy along with the pulmonary rehabilitation (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 2019). In addition to that, they are also conveying high profiler CDC reports regarding the COPD topic as well as encouraging and involving potential organizations for the development of surveillance in context to COPD. CDC has also developed a goal on health research of public and promotional strategies. The strategies in this particular goal involve the proper evaluation of the respective disease in terms of environmental risk factors as well as smoking and other chemical exposures. Moreover, it also includes an assessment of the recent health care practices for COPD along with the utilization of spirometry for diagnosing the concerned disease (Public Health Strategic Framework for COPD Prevention, 2019). On a wider note, the strategy also involves the recognition of the specific health research that is required for the prevention of this particular disease.

Role of carers for COPD

Health carers play a significant role in supporting the service user affected with COPD especially when the disease is in advanced stage. As stated by Strang et al. (2019), in order to enhance the quality of care as well as the satisfaction of the affected individual's family potential caregiver is recruited for supporting the service user. The significant role of cares for COPD service user is to manage the symptoms of the concerned disease as well as convey proper nutritional guidance in terms of maintaining adequate nutrition in their diet. In addition to that, treatment of the respective service user also involves pulmonary rehabilitation as well as routine medical check up and the utilization of appropriate amount of oxygen. Most of the COPD health corers convey genetic support to the entire service user. However, they convey special care treatment when the service user is in advanced stage. In addition to that, the COPD caregiver needs to know the proper utilization of different medication devices so that the service user gets the appropriate treatment that is required. Zwerink et al. (2014) mentioned that, symptoms of service user with COPD gets worse over the year which leads to the loss of well being. Therefore, it is the role of the carer to convey exact treatment and care to the service user so that they are able to manage their unpredictable symptoms. Along with that, the respective health carer also needs to communicate with the service user properly so that they do not develop depression or anxiety when they are experiencing this kind of stress.

Cultural safety and empowerment for COPD

COPD is a serious health problem that has an important effect on the health care services and the life status of the service user. Utilisation of the empowerment approach is necessary for the health promotion as well as to convey proper knowledge regarding the control and prevention of the concerned disease. As stated by Disler et al.  (2016), service user empowerment or the ability for determining the approach is identified as the significant aspect of the chronic disease management. On a similar note Disler et al. also highlighted that empowerment is generally the reverse relationship between the health professional and the service user where service user develops skills and knowledge for managing and determining their health care.

Cultural safety in healthcare basically aims to represent the inequity of power distribution in health care. In terms of treatment, support for COPD infected people is the most important one. As stated by Esposito (2015), chemical exposures as well as different gases and pollution are major challenges for this. Development of awareness is essential in this context to ensure safety. In order to ensure the cultural safety as well as environment for open interaction, COPD foundation has established "COPD 360social". This virtual platform allows them to interact in a safe environment. 

Strategies taken by Australia's government for COPD

Health authority regarding COPD in Australian is basically focused on slowing as well as preventing the progression of the disease. In addition to that, it is also maintaining the function and the quality of life for the individuals affected with the disease (Chronic respiratory conditions - including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, 2019). The most significant initiatives taken by the Australian government is the National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018 which is a particular framework for reducing the tobacco associated harm in Australia. This particular framework is designed in order to tackle the smoking program as well as to convey training programs for easy breathing in Australia. After the proper detection of COPD, the goals of treatment and management involve relieving symptoms as well as preventing and treating the progression of the respective disease. Self management of the concerned disease involves the enhancement of the exercise tolerance, daily activities as well as controlling and monitoring the nutritional needs. Health literacy of the service user is directly linked with their self management of the disease. In addition to that, poor health literacy is basically associated with the worse outcomes of COPD which is also socio economic disadvantage (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 2019). Enhancing individual as well as environmental health literacy requires coordinated and a potential collaborative approach. On a similar note, various strategies are also developed in order to enhance the interaction process in COPD such as utilizing simple language, case management as well as telephone follow up (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 2019). Apart from that, as stated by Baum (2015), individuals affected with the respective disease can also utilize electronic medical devices such as biosensor supported by cloud technology for the purpose detecting the deteriorating health of the service user earlier. In addition to that, this particular nation has also taken initiatives involving State and territory based tobacco control strategies as well as Aborginal tobacco control project (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, 2019). Moreover, the respective nation has also developed ATRAC Framework which is a particular strategic framework developed for Aboriginal Tobacco Resistance and Control in NSW (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 2019).


Thus it can be summed up that COPD is basically the progressive disease that causes severe impact on the individual in terms of breathing as well as creates large amount of mucus. In addition to that, individuals affected with severe COPD experiences less air flowing due to several reasons such as loss of the elasticity between the air sacs as well as the air sacs can also be damaged. Along with that, it also creates an important impact on the society in terms of economic burden. Caring for the individuals who are affected with respective disease severely experiences negative impact on the relationship as well as immense burden. In addition to that, the family of the respective service user is considered as the unit of care which is the cornerstone of the concerned care. Different health promotional strategies are also taken by the Australian government such as smoking cessation, treatment with proper medication as well as oxygen therapy. In addition to that, caregiver is also recruited for the purpose of conveying potential support to the service user affected with the disease. Cultural safety in healthcare is the development of proper awareness regarding the particular disease. Chemical exposures, different gases as well as pollution are considered as the significant challenges in the situation. National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018 as well as State and territory based tobacco control strategies as well as Aborginal tobacco control project are also the strategies taken by the Australian Government for reducing the concerned disease.

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