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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Advanced COPD

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) can often be managed for many years using modern therapies. But if you have complications or your lungs are getting worse, the treatments may be less effective. You may develop symptoms that do not disappear so quickly with treatment and start to affect your day-to-day life.

Some of the things you may notice include:

If you have these symptoms, your COPD may be becoming more advanced. Speak to your general practice team or specialist if you're worried or unsure.

Sometimes when COPD becomes more advanced, you cannot get any better. Then your treatment plan might focus on giving you a good quality of life rather than saving your life at all costs. Some treatments may become less important, and others may be added to help control your symptoms.

Talking about what comes next

It's helpful to have a discussion with your whānau (family) about what is important to you, especially your future care needs. Things to consider include:

An advance care plan is a really helpful way to document all of these discussions. It's a plan that gives you a voice when you cannot communicate, and it tells your family what you want to happen.

Getting extra help

Other community support is available. This may include:

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created June 2023.


See also:

Advance care planning

Palliative care

Financial support in palliative care

Page reference: 1116024

Review key: HICOP-16602