Abby Conway RN, BSN, MSN, is a SeniorBridge Associate Director in Brooklyn and Queens, NY, She began her career working in a hospital but soon became a field nurse who, after many years of service, has extensive nursing home and home care experience. Because of her background, she has helped many people with COPD – especially older adults – and their family caregivers. What follows are some of her thoughts on COPD care at home.

Q&A icon
Q

Describe the process you go through when starting a home care relationship with someone who has COPD.

A

You have to remember that COPD includes multiple diseases, so we need to understand what we’re facing – emphysema, bronchitis, asthma or another condition. That’s why we work with the client’s doctor. Then we can move into management, where we’re monitoring things like airway clearance, gas exchange, postural draining, tapering steroids, reconciling medications, exercise, and so forth.

Q

What’s an aspect of COPD that people should know about?

A

It’s directly related to the progression of the disease as a person ages – not just whether they smoked tobacco.

Q

Since depression and anxiety often occur in people with COPD, how do you manage mental health?

A

We have LCSWs as a key part of our team. They can help with counseling, connecting clients to resources, helping family caregivers, and just by listening to the person with the disease. You can really empower people if you plan with them and analyze the barriers to sticking with a treatment plan. Holistic care means psychosocial as well as clinical.

Q

What is your message to clients and caregivers?

A

You’re not alone. This is a team effort. COPD is progressive, but we can help prevent it from moving to the next stage. The mind is powerful, and education can be an amazing fix. A lot of success depends on changing the thinking involved. But you can’t force it.

Q

How has the pandemic impacted COPD care?

A

We help with telemedicine and virtual doctor visits. Clients and caregivers have our cell numbers on a sheet I created. We’re also vaccinated and use PPE because our place is in the home, and the human touch can’t be replaced.

Learn more about our services

SeniorBridge has on-call professionals available 24/7 to answer your questions. Contact us now to learn more about our services and how we can help.

1-855-627-3684

Available 24/7