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COPD: what GPNs need to know from the latest GOLD update

02 April 2023
Volume 34 · Issue 4


Every year, the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease publishes its update on COPD. Beverley Bostock provides an overview of what the latest publication means for general practice nurses

The latest guidance from the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will have an impact on the management of patients in general practice. The definition of COPD has been updated as well as the recommended approach to diagnosis. Updated treatment recommendations act as an important reminder for primary care clinicians to implement interventions that are relevant in the community setting and to refer on for more specialised interventions in secondary care as appropriate. The replacement of the ABCD assessment tool with the ABE approach underlines the significant impact that exacerbations can have in the management of COPD, independent of the symptom burden. Updated sections on exacerbations remind clinicians of the importance of considering comorbid or new diagnoses as the cause of any symptoms.

At the end of each year, the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) publishes its guidance on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for the following year. The latest recommendations for 2023 will have an impact on how we manage people with COPD, with an important change being made regarding treatment options (GOLD, 2022). This affects general practice nurses (GPNs) who support people living with COPD, whether they are prescribers or not, as a COPD review should include consideration of the individual's characteristics, symptoms, risk of exacerbations and personal preferences, all of which will affect treatment decisions. GPNs should be acting as the patient's advocate, supporting them with shared decision-making to plan their care in the most effective way. This article offers a summary of:

The focus will be on the role of primary care in diagnosing and managing COPD, including how to recognise when patients need referring on to specialist services. The article references the new guidelines, but detailed information about the evidence that informs them can be found by accessing the specific pages, tables and figures mentioned throughout.

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