Palliative Care Models for COPD
Palliative care services are designed to make symptomatic patients as comfortable as possible while managing
their COPD. Palliative care typically occurs alongside treatment and can help relieve suffering by offering help
with symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, pain, depression, and anxiety. This care approach aligns well
with COPD treatment, since it is a highly symptomatic condition that often intersects with burdensome
comorbidities. A palliative care model can help improve patient well-being and quality of life.
For additional information about rural palliative care, see the Rural Hospice and Palliative Care topic guide.
Examples of Palliative Care Models
Project ENABLE II (Educate,
Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends) is using telehealth to offer palliative care to patients with
serious illnesses, along with their caregivers. While the program was designed specifically for patients
with heart failure or advanced cancer, efforts are underway to tailor this intervention to the needs of COPD
Based in rural Zanesville, Ohio, Genesis
Hospital's Palliative Care Home Program was designed for patients who may have barriers to accessing
care. The palliative care team consists of specialized physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and
chaplains to help provide comfort care at home (or in nursing homes or the hospital).
Considerations for Implementation
The topic of palliative care is frequently avoided, as many people confuse palliative care and hospice. Hospice
is a type of palliative care that is generally designed for patients with a life expectancy of shorter than six
months. Understanding the differences between these two terms may make the topic more palatable when discussing
Additional research into palliative care services offered in rural areas is needed. A 2015 systematic review found promising approaches
in the use of telehealth, academic partnerships with communities, and in training for healthcare providers.
However, the researchers recommended additional studies for exploring best practices. A 2018 review found that palliative
care telephone support significantly improved mood, suggesting promising results with the use of telehealth.
Resources to Learn More
Palliative Care and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
Disease: Where the Lines Meet
Review article that identifies the palliative care needs of patients with advanced COPD.
Author(s): Harrington, S.E., Rogers, E., & Davis, M.
Citation: Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine, 23(2), 154-160
Care and COPD
Provides an overview of the benefits of palliative care among COPD patients and includes information on how to
access palliative care.
Organization(s): American Lung Association
Palliative Care in COPD Patients: Is It Only an
Provides information on palliative interventions, including rehabilitation, noninvasive ventilation, oxygen, and
the use of opioids.
Author(s): Carlucci, A., Guerrieri, A., & Nava, S.
Citation: European Respiratory Review, 21(126), 347-354