How you and your loved one living with COPD deal with this situation
will determine the quality of life for everyone in your family,
or if you are living together, in the household.
1Family Matters: "Collaboration for Health"
Embracing an understanding, creative, and cooperative approach
to COPD treatment.
By Richard Knowles, PhD and Brian L Tiep, MD
If a member of your family has COPD, you also have a problem. So,
let us address the problem directly. How you and your loved one
living with COPD deal with this situation will determine the quality
of life for everyone in your family, or if you are living together,
in the household. Working together as a family to manage COPD can
be an enriching experience. We will try to guide you to a favorable
outcome based on our experience in working with many families. You
and your family member with COPD may be fearful of, or already experiencing,
a traumatic ordeal. However, no matter how bad the situation may
seem to you, the outcome can be much better than you would have
The person living with COPD is faced with constant breathlessness,
fatigue, and a host of physical, financial, and emotional challenges.
Panic, anxiety, hoplessness, anger, and depression are only some
of the emotions that the person with COPD may experience. How your
loved one deals with this situation can vary greatly. You and other
family members are bound to have a wide range of concerns and feelings
in response, generated by your love and concern. Thus, you are also
confronted with difficulties. This can lead to an unpleasant emotional
There are answers to your questions and concerns. You can learn
how the physical and emotional challenges can be met by the person
with COPD. You can learn constructive ways for you and other family
members to provide help and support to the person with COPD. And
your family can work together through the use of clear but sensitive
It is important for you to understand the impact of COPD because
it impacts your life radically. It will be up to all parties concerned
whether this impact is positive or negative. You might fear that
such a set of negative factors would lead to a negative atmosphere
within your home. However, by embracing an understanding, creative,
and cooperative approach, your family can be enriched by everyone
rising to the challenges imposed by COPD.
In other articles we will explore each component of self management
and how to make it work effectively for both patient and family.
We will also discuss some of the serious emotional and practical
issues that can create hardships between patient and family. We
will present several means to deal with these issues. Although we
cannot attempt to treat or provide specific professional advice,
we will be available to answer questions and provide several alternative
solutions to some of these problems. Please send us your comments,
questions, and suggestions and we will try to deal with your concerns
in future columns.
We have some answers to these Frequently
Asked Questions (FAQ).
- What is COPD? Can this disease be controlled? What is the outcome?
How does shortness of breath affect the person with COPD?
- How does COPD and shortness of breath affect the family
of the person living with COPD?
- What can be done to help the person living with COPD?
- What can family members do to help the person living with COPD?
How can the person with COPD be motivated?
- Why should I help my loved one who has COPD--didn't they bring
this on themselves by years of smoking?
- Is there something we can do at home or while traveling in the
- What can we do when everyone is angry, upset, or in a panic?
- Where can I learn more?