Posted: May 4th, 2021

Emphysema Is A Condition Nursing Essay

This is a case study about Shirley, a 62 year old woman who has limited mobility due to emphysema. The damaging nature of emphysema is so that is drains an individual of life, as all available energy is required for breathing, which limits any other activities to take place (Christensen and Kockrow 2011) .

By utilising the frameworks of primary health care and principles of wellness, we will be preparing a health education plan for Shirley that will better equip her to deal with her condition, and help assist her to enhance her quality of life. Utilising available health services, our aim is to provide Shirley with the tools, education and referrals, assisting her to obtain optimal well-being.

Part 1- Primary Health Care

In 1978 the World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration with The United Nations (UN), created a set of international health guidelines called Primary Health Care (PHC). These guidelines made the healthcare system more accessible to individuals, families, and fellow members of the community (UNICEF 2012). PHC allowed both general and essential medical treatments such as immunisations, treatments and education to be available to all people without any prejudice. This concept focused on the promotion, prevention and treatment of people’s health (Talbot and Verrinder 2010).

Due to Shirley’s health deterioration, many facets of her life have suffered. Shirley’s health and surrounding issues need to be taken into account when assessing accessibility to PHC. Poor health could hinder Shirley accessing healthcare facilities, which is why it’s important to consider all health concerns.

Part 2- Principles of wellness

Shirley’s recent health deterioration has broadly affected her quality of life and wellbeing. The principles of wellness consist of a set of guidelines that focus and concentrate at looking at healthcare holistically. Complying with these principles, takes into account one’s mind, body and soul as well as their physical presence. By incorporating this approach, treatment is personalised, therefore allowing care to be broad and take into account their morals, beliefs and values. The principals of wellness relates to Shirley in that her health ailments affect her life in all round aspects, from her physical health, to her environmental and mental health. Thus proving why a holistic approach is important (Hoppers institute n.d).

Part 3a- Incidence and pathology

Shirley is a heavy packet a day smoker, and has been for 45 years. Due to this Shirley has developed a respiratory condition called Emphysema, also called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Emphysema or COPD is a disease where the air sacs in the lungs are destroyed, and as a result this makes it hard to breathe (Quitline 2012). Shirley’s condition has been brought upon as the excessive tobacco smoke has gradually corroded her lungs, in particular her air sacs. Emphysema treatments vary, however the effects are irreversible. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show from 2001-2010 Chronic respiratory diseases were ranked number 4 in leading causes of death (ABS 2012).

Part 3b- Learning program

Shirley’s emphysema is something that is limiting her life at current. This learning program will educate Shirley on activities she can do to enhance her life and to help assist her in daily living. To empower Shirley, her learning program will be done allowing her to make choices and be pro-active with her health. Funnell and Koutoukidis (2010) express that health promotion and education is an important lifelong aspect that informs and raises awareness allowing people to change and adapt their daily lives. Health promotion and education focuses not only on physical characteristics but looks holistically into an individual’s life.

Teaching method

Shirley’s teaching plan will be personalised, which allows her to get the most from her program by obtaining knowledge and strategies to obtain optimal health.

Quitline, an organisation that focuses on smoking reduction and cessation, will be used as a teaching method to educate Shirley on her options regarding cutting down her smoking.

To combat Shirley’s mobility and breathing difficulties, a demonstration with a mobility aid (walking frame) and oxygen mask will be provided.

Once Shirley is equipped and confident with her walking frame and oxygen mask, an exercise regime will be taught. This allows Shirley to develop a gradual exercise routine.

Another consideration is to include Shirley’s husband in the session.

Having a partner involved, is not only a sense of support for an individual, but also allows the partner to gain understanding of the issues associated with their spouses’ health. In this instance, Shirley’s husband’s participation may assist with his frustrations surrounding her health.

Skills and behaviours

The following are some behaviours and skills that will benefit Shirley in her quest to achieve better health. Shirley would highly benefit from reducing her smoking. In conjunction with oxygen therapy, Shirley’s reduction in smoking will help prevent further lung deterioration, and allow her to engage in activities she otherwise would not be able to. In addition to this, Shirley can develop an exercise regime to gradually build her level of fitness.

Learning activities

Utilising her walking frame and oxygen mask, Shirley will be able to ambulate more than five metres, therefore being able to commence more activities. Such activities as the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) support group, which will be used as a learning resource.

Part 3c- Resources

Quitline/ Quitnow

Quitline is a resource that focuses on the quitting smoking. This is available to help Shirley with her reducing and possibly quitting smoking, in a supportive manner that offers a variety of options regarding quitting.

Shirley could have a free quit pack sent out to her to aid her with quitting. The quit pack contains a booklet, DVD and other information brochures on dealing with quitting. This particular resource will benefit Shirley to help her reduce/ cease smoking and prevent further deterioration of her lungs.

The Australian Lung Foundation

The Australian lung foundation (ALF) focuses on education, prevention and treatment of sufferers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD (The ALF 2012). The ALF offer a variety of resources that will be beneficial in helping Shirley to deal with her Emphysema and other associated problems. The ALF offers multiple support groups for COPD patients. These groups are run Australia wide and are a great form of networking that helps to educate people and to work together. Shirley will benefit greatly from these groups as it’s not only a way of getting her re-engaged with community but it’s a pro-active approach for her to deal with her emphysema, depression and continual education on the benefits of oxygen therapy.

Respiratory General practitioner

A respiratory specialist general practitioner will assist Shirley with continual monitoring and necessary treatment options regarding her health. This will be beneficial in order to keep track of her progress, and help with referrals when necessary.


A physiotherapist helps with implementing activities not only for muscle strength and flexibility, but particularly with breathing exercises specific to strengthening her lungs. This will assist Shirley in gaining back a level of fitness, and allowing her to do so in a pro- active manner.


As Christensen and Kockrow affirmed (2011)

Emphysema is a condition that drains an individual due to its demanding nature. Sufferers of emphysema such as Shirley need to know that they’re not alone, and that there’s help to regain back their normal daily lives, and achieve optimal health. By adhering to PHC principles, it will educate Shirley on her options of treatment, and allows her to make executive decisions regarding her treatment (UNICEF 2012). An additional concept to PHC is focusing on the principles of wellness, formed by Dr Hopper from the Hoppers institute (n.d) which allows Shirley’s life to be considered holistically, resulting in the best treatment available. With these two areas taken into consideration creating a personalised learning program helps Shirley to dependently work towards a better level of health.

Word count (not including titles or references) – 1289


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