SIM Scenario Exchange

COPD exacerbation assessment and intervention

Contributed on March 31, 2015, last updated June 29, 2022.



Julie Rivers, BScN, MAEd, Loyalist College

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This scenario is intended for learners to assess and intervene for a patient experiencing an exacerbation of COPD. This scenario is based on evidence practice guidelines from the Ontario Ministry of Health and RNAO.

Learning Objectives:

The Student group will:

Perform a priority assessment of a client with an acute exacerbation of COPD, utilizing elements of the RNAO COPD BPG
Initiate appropriate nursing interventions and prioritize care for the client with an acute exacerbation of COPD, according to evidence based practice guidelines
Individually identify future learning needs that will augment their knowledge base and support future practice of caring for clients experiencing respiratory distress

Simulation Modality:

Manikin-based, Video


high fidelity manikin


This scenario was developed in 2005 and was pilot tested with students and peer reviewed (internal and external) prior to curriculum integration. This scenario was updated and peer reviewed (internal and external) in 2013.


Rivers J. COPD exacerbation assessment and intervention. Simulation resource published by Simulation Canada; 2015. Available from

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Target Learners




Practical Nursing


Undergraduate / post-secondary

Fields / Disciplines:


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