Activities of daily living

Learning outcomes

In this section you will learn about the effect of having a long term respiratory condition can have on the person's ability to manage functional daily living tasks which we all take for granted. How variable the patient/client's daily tasks can be if they have an exacerbation and an understanding of the effects of fatigue on daily routines. There are practical tips and advice to pass on to your patient/client to help them maintain their independence for longer.

Think about your daily routines from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night. Some tasks are so ordinary to us they are almost automatic and we barely give them a second thought. Now think about your patient/client with a respiratory condition. How is their daily routine from their point of view?

Their respiratory symptoms may make normal activities difficult. They may experience:

  • Poor sleep patterns, fatigue.
  • Coughing, secretions or sputum in their lungs which accumulates overnight.
  • Stiff or sore muscles.
  • The need to clear chest before attempting any functional task.
  • The need to take medication and inhalers and pause before attempting tasks.

For many people these issues make getting up in the mornings a particularly difficult time of day. However if you are assisting, there are ways to make their daily tasks easier. One of the main ways to help is give the person time to work at their own pace. You should encourage the person to choose  their priorities and plan what is important to help them manage their daily routines. For example a shower may be exhausting in a morning but more manageable later in the day or evening. Lets look at some practical ways to help which can help to maintain the patient/clients independence.