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How to Plan for the Future with COPD

Getting diagnosed with a chronic health condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can open uncomfortable doors of conversations between you and your caregivers which haven’t been explored earlier, including rehabilitative, long-term, and hospice care. However, it is essential to understand these potential scenarios and discuss them thoroughly with loved ones to ensure you get the kind of care you expect in the upcoming future.

Seeking the Care You Need

Supportive or rehabilitative care aims to make your life more comfortable by enhancing the overall quality of your life. Typically, prescription medications offer some relief from the emotional and physical symptoms you may experience. Counselling and therapy can also support your spiritual and emotional well-being. Palliative care address certain practical concerns, such as life-planning and care coordination.

In many scenarios, people tend to think of rehabilitative care as hospice care. While hospice care primarily focuses on end-of-life, rehabilitative care can be provided at any stage of your disease.

You can seek rehabilitation from a facility, but there are other options for you if that’s not something you wish. As technology has broadened the scope of healthcare, it is now possible to offer treatment and support virtually. From pulmonary rehabilitation to breathing exercises for COPD, you can get the level of care your condition demands. If you would like to enhance your well-being without leaving the comfort of your home, telerehabilitation programs are an excellent way to go.

Though the damage caused to your lungs can’t be reversed, your virtual healthcare team will help you –

  • Alleviate symptoms to let you feel and breathe better using effective breathing techniques for COPD.
  • Help you remain physically active.
  • Treat infections when they occur.
  • Prevent complications before they occur
  • Prevent the condition from getting worse

It is imperative to discuss your emotional and physical concerns with your healthcare practitioner so that you can work together to chalk out a plan for the kind of supportive care you may require now and, in the years, to come.

Having Important Discussions 

You have to be prepared that a time may come when you won’t be able to communicate your wishes. Because of this reason, it is paramount to discuss the things that matter way ahead of time with friends or family members, which may also include filling out the necessary paperwork as soon as possible.

If you have the critical discussions early on, it will be less stressful for everybody, which includes you and your support system, particularly at times when potentially difficult decisions need to be made.

If you don’t know what you need to take about, we have created a checklist of guidelines for you that you can use to discuss with your doctors and caregivers regarding end-of-life care.

If you have additional concerns, your doctor and healthcare team can navigate the process to help you make crucial decisions.

Sorting Out the Paperwork

There are a couple of things you need to do in order to have all the paperwork in order. Let’s check them out –

  • Creating an advance directive, which typically contains two documents – a Living Will (outlining your end-of-life care choices) and a Healthcare Power of Attorney (designating a person you trust to make your healthcare decisions when you cannot do them yourself).
  • Drafting a Financial Power of Attorney, who will have access to your accounts and assets and make decisions about your finances.
  • Getting all your financial records in order and storing them in a single place, including credit cards, account numbers, investments, deeds, loads, etc.
  • Drafting a will, which can be done with or without an attorney, to let authorities know what will happen to your belongings at the end of your life.

Every state will have different requirements regarding having the documents notarized. Hence, it is essential to go through the requirements of your state thoroughly.

End-Of-Life Care 

Your end-of-life wishes will be mentioned in the advanced directive. Here are a couple of examples of the topics that require your decision-making –

  • Where do you wish to get your end-of-life care? It could be at a hospice facility, hospital, or home.
  • Would you prefer receiving comfort care?
  • Would you be okay with receiving artificial food if you’re unable to eat on your own?
  • When would you wish to discontinue receiving treatment?
  • If required, would you be okay with resuscitation, including a breathing machine and chest compressions?

There are plenty of other topics that require your attention when drawing out a plan for your end-of-life care. You can seek additional information from your doctor to understand your state’s requirements. Your healthcare team will be there for your support, and you can rely on them to navigate these critical yet difficult decisions.

Closing Thoughts 

While it is crucial to prepare for your future in advance, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of it all. Living with a chronic condition is challenging but looking after yourself well throughout the years will ensure you live a relatively comfortable life. With virtual telemedicine facilities available to you, now it is possible to receive excellent quality rehabilitation care in the comfort of your home.