MEDICATIONS. Be sure that the patient understands all medications, including the dosage, route, action, and adverse effects. Patients on aminophylline should have blood levels drawn as ordered by the physician. Before being discharged from the hospital, the patient should demonstrate the proper use of metered-dose inhalers.
COMPLICATIONS. Instruct patients to notify their primary healthcare provider of any change in the color or consistency of their secretions. Green-colored secretions may indicate the presence of a respiratory infection. Patients should also report consistent, prolonged periods of dyspnea that are unrelieved by medications.
FOLLOW-UP. Consider that patients with severe disease may need assistance with activities of daily living after discharge. Note any referrals to social services. Send patients home with a diet, provided by the dietitian and reinforced by the nurse, which provides a high-caloric intake. Encourage the patient to cover the face with a scarf if he or she goes out-of-doors in the winter. If the patient continues to smoke, provide the name of a smoking cessation program or a support group. Encourage the patient to avoid irritants in the air.
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