chronic respiratory failure
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chronic respiratory failure
The focus of patient care is to relieve respiratory symptoms, manage hypoxia, conserve energy, and avoid respiratory irritants and infections. The nurse, respiratory therapist, primary care physician, and pulmonologist carry out the prescribed treatment regimen and teach the patient and family to manage care at home.
Patients may require supplemental oxygen. The patient is taught how to use the equipment and the importance of maintaining an appropriate flow rate. Low flow rates (1–2 L/min) are often best for patients with chronic obstructive lung disease. Drug therapy can include inhaled bronchodilators (if bronchospasm is reversible), oral or inhaled corticosteroids, oral or inhaled sympathomimetics, inhaled mucolytic therapy, and prompt use of oral antibiotics in the presence of respiratory infection. The patient and family are taught the order and spacing for administering these drugs, as well as how to use a metered-dose inhaler (with spacer if necessary). They are taught the desired effects, serious adverse reactions to report, and minor adverse effects and how to deal with them. Patients are taught care of inhalers and other respiratory equipment and are advised to rinse the mouth after using these devices to help limit bad tastes, dryness, and Candida infections.
Unless otherwise restricted, the patient will benefit from increased fluid intake (to 3 L/day) to help liquefy secretions and aid in their expectoration. Deep-breathing and coughing techniques are taught to promote ventilation and remove secretions. The patient also may be taught postural drainage and chest physiotherapy to help mobilize secretions and clear airways. Such therapy is to be carried out at least 1 hr before or after meals. Incentive spirometry may help to promote optimal lung expansion. A high-calorie, high-protein diet, offered as small, frequent meals, helps the patient maintain needed nutrition, while conserving energy and reducing fatigue.
Daily activity is encouraged, alternating with rest to prevent fatigue. Patients may benefit from a planned respiratory rehabilitation program to teach breathing techniques, provide conditioning, and help increase exercise tolerance. Diversional activities also should be provided, based on the patient's interests.
The patient is assessed for changes in baseline respiratory function; restlessness, changes in breath sounds, and tachypnea may signal an exacerbation. Any changes in sputum quality or quantity are noted. The patient is taught to be aware of these changes.
Patients need help in adjusting to lifestyle changes necessitated by this chronic illness. Patients and their families are encouraged to ask questions and voice concerns; answers are provided when possible, and support is given throughout. The patient and family should be included in all care planning and related decisions. The patient also is taught to avoid air pollutants such as automobile exhaust fumes and aerosol sprays, as well as crowds and people with respiratory infections. Patients should obtain influenza immunization annually and pneumonia immunization every 6 years. The patient also may benefit from avoiding exposure to cold air and covering the nose and mouth with a scarf or mask when outdoors in cold, windy weather. Patients who smoke tobacco are advised to abstain, using nicotine replacement therapy, hypnotism, support groups, or other methods.