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Living with COPD

COPD and end-of-life care

People with COPD may live a long time after they are diagnosed. Eventually, people with COPD die from the disease, or from a complication of it.

If you have COPD, it's a good idea to think about the future
  • Go over the medical options with your doctor.
  • Discuss your wishes with your friends and family- those people who may make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
  • Prepare a "living will" to specify the medical treatments you would choose or refuse.
Resources for people with advanced COPD and their families

Online support : The Canadian Virtual Hospice is an interactive website for people dealing with life-threatening illness and loss. It offers practical information on many topics: advanced care planning, how to access financial benefits, home care, and other services, and how to manage shortness of breath. The site has information geared towards patients, families living with end stage chronic disease, and health care professionals.

Guide for caregivers : Living with Advanced Lung Disease: A Guide for Family Caregivers (PDF) from the Washington Home Center for Palliative Care Studies.

Ventilation decision aid: People with advanced COPD may have to think about going on ventilation. This decision aid about mechanical ventilation from the Ottawa Health Research Institute helps people understand what's involved and reach a decision.