Preliminary research indicates there is quite a bit of information available on the role of COPD caregivers, but not specifically COPD-E.
ROLE OF THE CAREGIVER
- According to the European Respiratory Review, "the role of the informal caregiver of patients with COPD is underrepresented in international COPD documents."
- The most recent Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease mentions that the caregiver's role is relegated to "correct use of medication, advance care planning, indirect disease-related costs, and impact of the disease on the patient's family."
- However, more than 70% of COPD patients have "one or more informal caregivers" and these caregivers are usually close family members, spouses, or other cohabitants.
- Caregivers provide "practical help with activities like household chores, gardening and shopping." They also perform other tasks like accompanying patients to appointments, helping with personal care, providing emotional support, and managing medication adherence and medical appointments.
- A positive association was found between "having an informal caregiver and better adherence to antihypertensive and long-acting β-agonist medications in COPD patients."
- Some negative aspects of informal caregivers are that they can be overprotective and patients can become more dependent on others for daily care.
- Caregivers of COPD patients are mostly female spouses, which could be due to earlier smoking trends; however, demographics are changing as smoking trends have also changed.
- Approximately 50% of informal caregivers of COPD patients are still in the workforce, but 24% of these caregivers have taken off time from work to assist a patient.
- When COPD is advanced, informer carers play a key role in supporting patients.
- In the report, "Assessing carer needs in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," the carer's role is to provide "helpful insights on patients' limitations," "facilitate and enhance adherence of COPD management behaviors," and "provide the majority of physical and psychological support to enable patients to complete basic activities of daily living in order to function."