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When your elderly loved one needs advanced, on-call care for COPD flare-ups

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a degenerative disease that obstructs airflow from the lungs. Unfortunately, many seniors experience disruptive COPD exacerbations, or flare-ups that are characterized by periods of particularly severe respiratory symptoms. Exacerbations can last for several days or even weeks, and as COPD progresses, flare-ups may become more frequent.

At DispatchHealth, we understand you want the very best for your loved one, and that includes eliminating unnecessary stress and hassle from their routines. By turning to DispatchHealth for COPD exacerbation treatment, you’ll spare them the inconvenience of having to travel to a bustling and germ-filled clinic or emergency room when they’re not feeling well (this stress can also aggravate symptoms). We’ll promptly send a qualified, fully equipped medical team to your loved one’s home to provide advanced respiratory care and help them find relief from symptoms. Our professionals will even send a detailed medical report to your loved one’s regular healthcare team to ensure everyone remains informed.

COPD exacerbation symptoms & when to seek treatment

The symptoms of COPD exacerbations can vary from person to person and are sometimes mistaken for allergies or sinus infections. Regardless, it’s always smart to promptly consult a medical provider like DispatchHealth if your loved one experiences:

  • Worsening cough
  • More wheezing or shortness of breath than usual
  • Fatigue that lasts for more than one day
  • Leg or ankle swelling
  • An unusual amount, color, or consistency of mucus
  • Increased difficulty sleeping
  • The need for additional oxygen

While DispatchHealth can provide many of the same services as an emergency room, we are not an alternative to the ER in life-threatening scenarios. Call 911 immediately if any of the following occur:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Severe chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Inability to speak coherently or in complete sentences
  • Blush lips or fingers

What causes COPD exacerbations in seniors?

COPD exacerbations are often triggered by bacterial or viral infections in the lungs or airways, such as the flu, the common cold, and pneumonia. Exposure to irritants like air pollution, dust, fumes from household cleaning products, tobacco smoke, or allergies may also lead to COPD exacerbation. In some cases, there is no obvious cause.

How to prevent COPD exacerbations

It’s impossible to completely eliminate the threat of a COPD exacerbation. Even so, there are several steps that can be taken to help reduce your elderly loved one’s risk and promote good respiratory health. Make sure your loved one:

  • Carefully adheres to their COPD treatment plan and informs
    their doctor if it becomes less effective
  • Avoids established triggers like cigarette smoke
  • Stays away from crowded places, when possible
  • Remains indoors when the weather is cold or when
    outdoor pollution levels are high
  • Receives flu and pneumonia vaccines, with their doctor’s guidance 
  • Practices good hygiene habits like thorough hand washing to help avoid catching illness

If left untreated

COPD is a chronic, degenerative condition that cannot be reversed. Still, promptly receiving treatment for COPD exacerbations is important, as they can cause significant discomfort and may leave behind permanent lung damage. In very severe cases, untreated COPD exacerbations may lead to death.

Request mobile COPD care

DispatchHealth stands ready to provide in-home COPD exacerbation treatment to seniors in non-life-threatening scenarios. Each of our fully equipped medical teams includes a nurse practitioner or physician assistant and an EMT along with an ER physician that is available by phone or video. Our professionals have ample experience caring for seniors and helping COPD patients breathe more comfortably. Additionally, we follow the most stringent of infection control and sanitation protocols to ensure the safety of our team members and at-risk patients.

Requesting care from DispatchHealth is simple. Just download our app, give us a call, or go on our website. We are available 24 hours a day, including holidays, and can arrive at your loved one’s doorstep in a matter of hours. We also accept all major health insurance plans and offer sensible rates. In fact, the cost of a DispatchHealth visit is about the same as a trip to an urgent care clinic. The choice is clear—for convenient, safe, and affordable in-home COPD exacerbation treatment, call on DispatchHealth.