End-of-life care for COPD patients.

Respiratory conditions
  • COPD
Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Dean MM


Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) receive poor end-of-life (EoL) care, in part because their disease course is not predictable. If the family physician would not be surprised at the patient's death within a year, then EoL issues should be raised for discussion. Embarking on such a discussion has the potential to enhance the patient's quality of life and EoL care, thereby avoiding unnecessary treatments or interventions. An Advance Health Care Directive can be useful. Appropriately-used systemic (not nebulised) opioids are safe and effective for managing dyspnoea. The family physician is in an excellent position to provide comprehensive EoL care for COPD patients.