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Pulmonary Rehabilitation

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What is pulmonary rehabilitation?

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program for persons with chronic lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, bronchiectasis, or interstitial lung disease. Most pulmonary rehabilitation programs will include medical management, education, emotional support, exercise, breathing retraining, and nutritional counseling.

Goals of a pulmonary rehabilitation program:

The purpose of pulmonary rehabilitation is to help people lead a full, satisfying life; to restore them to their highest possible functional capacity; and to help them live a more comfortable and enjoyable life. These goal are often met by:

  • decreasing respiratory symptoms and complications.
  • encouraging independence through self-management and control over daily functioning.
  • improving physical conditioning and exercise performance.
  • improving emotional well-being.
  • reducing hospitalizations.

The pulmonary rehabilitation team:

Pulmonary rehabilitation programs can be conducted while a person is a hospital inpatient, or on an outpatient basis. Many skilled professionals are part of the pulmonary rehabilitation team. In addition to physicians, the team may include:

  • respiratory therapists
  • dietitians
  • educators
  • physical therapists
  • social workers
  • nurses
  • psychologists
  • occupational therapists
  • other allied health professionals

The pulmonary rehabilitation program:

A typical rehabilitation program includes:

  • breathing exercises
  • exercise reconditioning
  • progressive relaxation training
  • stress and panic control techniques
  • smoking cessation
  • educational programs to provide information on:

    • medication
    • diet
    • exercise
    • caring for and operating respiratory therapy equipment
  • exercise programs that may include:
    • calisthenics or stretching exercises to increase flexibility
    • weight training to increase exercise endurance and conditioning
    • specific exercises on stationary bicycles, treadmills, and other miscellaneous exercise machines