Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Purpose & Scope

  • This guideline will address the nursing assessment and management of stable, unstable and acute dyspnea associated with COPD.
  • It is acknowledged that individual competencies of nurses vary between nurses and across categories of nursing professionals (RNs and RPNs) and are based on knowledge, skills, attitudes and judgement enhanced over time by experience and education. It is expected that individual nurses will perform only those aspects of care for which they have received appropriate education and experience. Both RNs and RPNs should seek consultation in instances where the patient’s care needs surpass the individual nurse’s ability to act independently.
  • Although this guideline contains recommendations for Registered Nurses (RNs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs), caring for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is an interdisciplinary endeavour. It is acknowledged that effective care depends on a coordinated interdisciplinary approach incorporating ongoing communication between health professionals and patients.
Chronic Disease
Nursing Care of Dyspnea: The 6th Vital Sign in Individuals with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Background Information