What is pulmonary rehabilitation?
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a doctor-supervised program for people who have chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, asthma, bronchiectasis, interstitial lung disease, (such as cystic fibrosis or sarcoidosis), thoracic cage abnormalities, neuromuscular diseases, or lung tumors. The program is also often used before and after lung surgery. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs can often improve function, reduce symptoms, and improve the well-being of patients.
The pulmonary rehabilitation team
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs can be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Many skilled professionals are part of the pulmonary rehabilitation team, including any or all of the following:
Other specialty doctors
The pulmonary rehabilitation program
A pulmonary rehabilitation program is designed to meet the needs of the individual patient, depending on the specific lung problem or disease. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of the program.
The goal of pulmonary rehabilitation is to help patients return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life--physically, emotionally, and socially. These goals are often met by:
Decreasing respiratory symptoms and complications
Encouraging independence through self-management
Improving physical conditioning and exercise performance
Improving social, emotional, and vocational status
In order to help reach these goals, pulmonary rehabilitation programs may include the following:
Medication management to help reduce respiratory symptoms, complications, and hospitalizations
Breathing exercises to improve lung capacity and fitness
Calisthenics or stretching exercises to improve flexibility
Weight training to increase exercise endurance and conditioning
Exercise machines, such as stationary bicycles and treadmills
Patient and family education and counseling
Stress management and emotional support
Assistance with obtaining respiratory equipment and portable oxygen