Elderly patients often experience difficulties caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The condition is characterized by a high symptom burden, healthcare utilization, mortality, and unmet needs of both patients and their caregivers. It’s not a surprise that the treatment of elderly patients with COPD can be highly challenging for their relatives and beloved people. That’s why people often rely on the services provided by professional caregivers who have the knowledge and experience in disease treatment.

COPD is a major cause of respiratory failure in the elderly. However, multiple other disease entities may exacerbate COPD symptoms, including heart failure, pulmonary embolism, anxiety, and other conditions. When providing in-home care for CORP patients and their families, caregivers need to ensure they meet the guideline-recommended care and make the proper treatment decisions that meet the patient’s conditions, focus on symptom relief and function and prepare patients and their families for the possible further declines in the patient’s health conditions. 

COPR disease management guidelines provide a synthesis of a strong evidence base for the diagnosis and treatment of both the stable phase and acute exacerbations of COPD. The guidelines are commonly limited when applied to older patients with respiratory failure for several reasons. 

  • First of all, the treatment paradigms may be influenced by the interaction of a variety of diseases and impairments in addition to COPD itself. 
  • COPR diagnosis and staging require special consideration.
  • The guidelines may not meet the full spectrum of the patient’s needs resulting from the burden of advanced disease. 
  • Although most guidelines consider the importance of comorbid conditions, they do not always account for the potential adverse consequences of polypharmacy.