Senior Care Gig Harbor WA
For a family caregiver, knowing when a loved one with COPD needs extra help can be extremely anxiety-inducing. You don’t want to overreact, but you definitely don’t want to wait to get the help your loved one needs.
Signs of an Emergency
When you’re new to dealing with COPD, anything that is out of the ordinary can feel like an emergency situation. Your loved one’s doctor can give you specific information about what constitutes an emergency for your loved one, but these are some general guidelines. Signs that you should call 911 include:
- Severe shortness of breath that comes on suddenly
- Sudden confusion
- Severe chest pains
- A blue tinge to lips or fingers
- Coughing up a teaspoon or more of blood
- Extreme sudden fatigue
Contact 911 if you’re in any doubt at all about your loved one’s condition. It’s far better to call 911 and not actually need more than mild assistance than to have a true emergency and not call at all.
Signs to Call Your Loved One’s Doctor
Calling your loved one’s doctor is a much easier decision to make for most people because it’s not as frightening as an ambulance arriving. If your loved one is actually in an emergency situation, his doctor will let you know to contact 911 right away. If you see any of these signs, it’s a good idea to contact your loved one’s doctor right away:
- Coughing up even a little blood
- Changes in the color of your loved one’s mucus
- Coughs that start out mild and become worse in frequency or severity
- Increasing shortness of breath or wheezing
- A fever
- Flu-like symptoms
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
Any one of these symptoms could be a sign of a lung infection or a more severe problem for your loved one.
Formulating an Emergency Plan
One of the most important things that you and your loved one’s doctor can do for your loved one with COPD is to develop an emergency plan that you can refer to when your loved one is having symptoms that are unusual. With an emergency plan, you or anyone who is caring for your loved one can know right away what the right solution is.
Make sure that anyone who helps with your loved one’s care has access to the emergency plan as well as information about the signs of an emergency.