The Journal of Thoracic Disease , describes a a Turkish study on male COPD patients and the emotional characteristics common to their condition. The article explains why “COPD patients are exhausting for health care workers to work with and generally non-compliant.”
The study noted a connection between alcohol consumption and depression in some COPD patients. And they said that the alcohol consumption was prevalent in those who were not on psychotropic medications.
COPD patients were found particularly susceptible to panic attacks. That would seem to correlate with their lower scores in self-directedness and resourcefulness during dyspnic episodes.
- They scored high in: harm-avoidance, anticipatory worry, fear of uncertainty, and fatigability.
- They scored low in: self-efficacy, problem-solving, self-directedness, and cooperativeness.
- They described themselves as: immature, weak, fragile, blaming, destructive, ineffective, irresponsible, poorly integrated, need others to make decisions. They worry, feel uncertain, and feel fatigued much of the time.
A Japanese study, found at NAOSITE describes similar personality traits in depressed COPD patients.
Of particular interest, a study, Anxiety, Depression and Traits of Personality in COPD Patients , conducted in San Paulo, Brazil, noted “Their interpersonal relationships display the same “obstructive” pattern as their respiratory difficulty.”
This is a very interesting topic, but what we are after is how to connect better with COPD patients and serve them well in light of their unique set of personality traits.
NCBI Resources says, “…treatment of concurrent psychiatric disorder leads to improvement in the physical as well as the psychological state of the patient. Panic anxiety as well as generalized anxiety in COPD patients is most safely treated with newer antidepressants…”
However, a study done by Science Direct shows that the studied COPD patients with depression often refused antidepressants because of fear of side effects and because they were already on so many medications.
But they did note a very positive connection between successful smoking-cessation and COPD patients who did take their antidepressant.
About.com talks about smoking-cessation, in COPD patients, and three key elements that help: Nicotine replacement therapy, antidepressant like Wellbutrin, and Clonidine.
Respirology points out many of the same issues as the other articles. But they are different in that they also discuss educating COPD patients in areas of relaxation therapy, self-management programs, supportive therapy, and self-help groups.
Empowerment seems to be what is very strongly needed in this group. So my favorite of all these resources is Respirology , which actually gives hope and action steps for COPD sufferers.
With all of these findings in mind, you can easily deduct which empowering nursing interventions will boost the self-confidence of your COPD patients. When they understand one correct action and perform it, with good corresponding results, you will have placed a tool in their belt and made them stronger.
As you work, to help you save time, it would surely help to carry your own pocket sized CMS 50-DL Pulse Oximeter with Neck/Wrist cord .
And to see what your patients are (or should be) reading about their COPD, see: Positive Options for Living with COPD: Self-Help and Treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Positive Options for Health) .