July 24, 2018

How to use a COPD Action Plan

A Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Action Plan helps you recognise when your symptoms change and what action you should take. It is essential that you plan it with your health professional and review the information with your doctor regularly.

Step 1 Talk to your doctor

To get started, it is often helpful to discuss any previous flare-ups you have had; including the events leading up to your flare-up, the symptoms you had, how these affected you, and any medicines you took.

Step 2 Self-management

You and your doctor should agree on the best way for you to self-manage your COPD whilst you are well. Include information on your usual medicines such as how and when to take them.

Step 3 Managing flare-ups

It is important that you can recognise the early signs of a flare-up. The sooner you get treatment, the better your recovery will likely be. The orange and red sections of the COPD Action Plan help you know what actions to take if your COPD symptoms worsen, and when to seek medical treatment if they become severe. It is important that you ask your doctor if you have any questions about your usual medicines or those prescribed for a flare-up.

Step 4 Be prepared with extra medicines

Your doctor will provide prescriptions for any extra medicines you need to take during a flare-up. Keep these medicines in a safe location near your COPD Action Plan. If you are travelling, remember to take your COPD Action Plan and extra medicines with you.

Step 5 Date your COPD Action Plan

Make sure you throw away old COPD Action Plans to reduce confusion.

Step 6 Refer to COPD Action Plan

Ensure your COPD Action Plan is kept in a visible location at home, such as on the fridge. This will help you remember to monitor your COPD symptoms, and to be prepared to take action if a flare-up occurs.

Step 7 Review your COPD Action Plan

Always take your COPD Action Plan to doctor appointments or if you are admitted to hospital. Ask your health professional to review your COPD Action Plan every six months or if you have a flare-up, as your medicines may change.

If you don’t have a current COPD Action Plan, click here and ask your health professional to complete it with you.