Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used for a variety of lung diseases, this includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. COPD is characterised by a chronically poor airflow withthe main symptoms being shortness of breath, cough and sputum production.

It is estimated that three million people in the UK have COPD, however in many of these people the condition has not yet been formally diagnosed. This is because in the early stages of COPD people will ignore a persistent cough or shortness of breath and will go without seeking advice from their doctor.

The harmful impact COPD has on quality of life is greater than ever imagined. Examples of how, is demonstrated in the bullets below:

  • 52% express how having COPD has stopped them from fulfilling their life goals or dreams.
  • 41% felt they were unable to plan for the future.
  • 37% saw their house hold income decrease.
  • 34% explained how COPD had affected their social activities, with 58% going out less.
  • 52% expressed that their cough embarrasses them.
  • 22% require help form other to complete everyday activities.
  • 17% felt they were a burden to friends and family.

Routine activities such as bathing, grooming and dressing, can take their toll on an individual's energy levels if diagnosed with moderate or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (CPOD). Our Occupational Therapists are highly experienced and can educate individual on simple energy-conserving techniques that can help individuals get through their day to day task more effectively with less effort.

Our Occupational Therapistsare healthcare professionals who are dedicated to empowering individuals with COPD live their life to the fullest. Our Occupational Therapists have specialised knowledge and skills inmodifying environments that will enable individual's with COPD to do those things they what and need to do. For example, the use of a perching stool in both the kitchen and bathroom environment will help conserve energy allowing the individual to establish an effective and rewarding routine.

Problems associated with COPD

Taking its toll on the individual's body is that of increased breathlessness when exercising or simple moving around, and a persistent cough. This can make it extremely difficult for individuals with COPD to participate in everyday activities such as the ones listed below:

  • Mobilising inside and outside of the home
  • Driving
  • Work activities
  • Sleeping
  • Cooking
  • Grooming
  • Dressing
  • Leisure and social activities
  • Household duties

COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult for individuals to breathe and affects their ability to complete everyday activities. Our Occupational Therapists can adopt various treatment approaches when working with individual's with COPD, in order to increase their independence. Firstly, our Occupational Therapists will comprehensively assess an individual's condition and the impact it has on their daily functioning. Following this, difficulties will be identified and a therapeutic plan will be devised. Treatment for those with COPD include: graded activities, aids and adaptations, education on condition management, and fatigue management techniques, plus many more.

Analysingan individual's workplace environment can also be conducted by our Occupational Therapists. This involves assessing how an individual's condition impacts on their day to day job activities. For example, if an individual with COPD completes an activity in work which is strenuous and causes major difficulties in breathing, then our Occupational Therapists can recommend ways to adapt such activity to make it more suitable for the individual.

How can these difficulties impact on function?

COPDimpacts greatly on an individual's day to day life. The condition not only effects their abilities to function independently but also effects their mood levels. A summary below indicates how COPD can affect the different aspects of an individual's life:


  • Difficulties washing
  • Difficulties dressing independently
  • Difficulties mobilising in and around the house
  • Difficulties completing household duties.


  • Stigma
  • Completing social activities
  • Participating in leisure activities
  • Feelings of depression and stress

COPD affects an individual's ability to participate in social everyday events. For example, individualswith COPD will often turn down invitations to meet with friends or attend social gathering due to the excessive tiredness COPD can bring. This then means important social interactions are missed which inevitably will impact on mood and self-esteem levels. Our Occupational Therapists are highly skilled in reducing the impact COPD has on an individual's social life and can provide effective condition management techniques, in order to allow individuals to participate in social interactions.

What exactly is COPD?

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive disease that makes it hard for an individual to breathe. It is a name used for a collective of lung diseases including bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.

The main cause of COPD is Cigarette smoking. Approximately 80% of individuals who develop COPD are, or have previously been smokers. Smoking permanently damages the lining of the airway, resulting in them becoming inflamed. This damage is irreversible. It is expected that approximately 10-25 % of smokers later develop COPD.

Exposure to other people's smoke, fumes and dust also increases the risk of developing COPD, even amongst non-smokers.Chemicals and dust found in the work environment such as; grains, isocyanates, cadmium and coal.

This has also been a rare genetic tendency to develop COPD called alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency, however this occurs in just 1 % of individuals.

Occupational Therapy assessments suitable for COPD

Our Occupational Therapists assess and treat individuals with COPD. Comprehensive assessmentsare used by our Occupational Therapists in order to gather relevant information and develop treatment plans suitable for those with COPD. Below is a list of the most common assessments used for those with COPD are:

  • Cognitive assessments
  • Functional assessment
  • Activities of daily living assessments
  • Aids and adaptations assessment
  • Risk assessment
  • Workplace assessment
  • Return to work assessment

In order to fully complete the assessment process our Occupational Therapists will also conduct a non- standardised assessment. These assessments include observing the individual completing daily task they find challenging, along with a semi-structured interview with the individual and their family members. This ensures our assessment are precise and exact and meet the needs of each and every individual we treat.

Occupational therapy treatment available

Our Occupational Therapy treatments enables individuals to maintain their independence through the use of personalised gadgets and adaptations that make everyday life activities such as washing and dressing simpler and easier to complete. Treatments for individuals with COPD aim to increase an individual's life satisfaction and increase their:

  • Functional independence
  • Social interaction
  • Increase safety
  • Pain management
  • Condition management

Our Occupational Therapy treatments have made big improvements to the lives of individual's diagnosed with COPD. They are both flexible and individualised and can be carried out here in one of our clinics or in the comfort of your own home.


Individual's living with COPD can find it extremely difficult to complete everyday activities they once took for granted. Our Occupational Therapists are highly experienced when working with individuals with COPD and have the in depth knowledge and skills needed to increase an individual's levels of independence.

How to arrange to see an occupational therapist?

If you feel you or a family member would benefit greatly from ourOccupational Therapy interventions then pleaseemail us with any of your enquires at or Call us on 02033 937 332



London OT offer and provide a range of Occupational Therapy services for individuals with a variety of conditions.

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