COPD as a Life-Limiting Illness: Implications for Advanced Practice Nurses

Donna M. Goodridge, RN, PhD


Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal. 2006;6(4) 

In This Article


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive and ultimately fatal chronic illness that is the fourth leading cause of death in the world. People with advanced COPD experience severely compromised functional capacity, quality of life, communication abilities, and psychosocial well-being. Although these impairments equal or surpass those of persons with cancer, the end-of-life care needs for COPD patients are only now being examined and addressed. Advanced practice nurses can make significant contributions to the care of this underserved population through appropriate, evidence-based assessments and interventions. Symptom management (including dyspnea, fatigue, and cachexia), support of self-management, patient and family education, and advance care planning are key focus areas for advanced practice nurses.


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