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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease for the Correctional Nurse

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD ) is actually a group of diseases that cause a blockage in airflow and breathing.  It includes chronic bronchitis, hyper-reactive airway disease and emphysema. Tobacco smoke is the main factor in the development and further progression of the disease, but exposure to air pollutants, respiratory infections and genetic factors may also play a role in the development of COPD.  It is estimated that 16 million persons are affected by COPD, and  it is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Individuals suffering from COPD are more likely to experience activity limitations, have an inability to work, have memory loss or confusion, have depression or other mental illness, and have other chronic diseases like congestive heart failure, diabetes, coronary artery disease, arthritis, stroke and asthma.  Treatment of COPD includes both pharmacological and non-pharmacological modalities.

This class will cover the pathophysiology of COPD; typical medications prescribed and their side effects; and nursing interventions and patient education for the patient with COPD.  Included is a Patient Education Topic:  How to use an inhaler and spacer.