Indexed on: 05 Feb '15Published on: 05 Feb '15Published in: British journal of community nursing
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common condition. There are an estimated 3 million cases in the UK. Of these, 2 million have not got a formal diagnosis. Community nurses meet patients with COPD frequently, although COPD may not be the primary reason for the encounter, or the COPD may be present but undiagnosed. The number of patients with COPD is believed to be increasing and, with increased awareness of the condition and an emphasis on improving diagnosis, the number of cases is expected to rise. Community nurses are well placed to raise concerns that a patient in their care may have undiagnosed COPD; if the condition is subsequently diagnosed and appropriate treatment is given, outcomes will improve for that individual. Community nurses can also support patients and their families to manage the condition through all stages of the disease trajectory, from diagnosis to the end-of-life phase.