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Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary Rehabilitation is an expansive multidisciplinary team effort for retraining patients that concentrates on reconditioning, exercise and self-management education.

Rehabilitation incorporates changeā€”a change in lifestyle to active from sedentary and a change to life-centered from illness-centered. Lung function loss causes patients shortness of breath with little physical exertion. This is intensified by an understandable behavioral reaction to avoid exertion and retreat to a sedentary lifestyle. The end result is a patient who is short of breath from not only loss of lung function but also from deconditioning.

Exercise training and education enables patients to give more of their energy while requiring a faster respiratory/breathing rate, thus decreasing the tendency to hyperinflate their lungs with air trapping. They can breathe less while doing more.

Simultaneously, patients are educated and thus learn self-management skills that provide them with the confidence to live their lives without the constant fear that they will perish to overwhelming shortness of breath.

During Pulmonary Rehabilitation, patients become partners in their own training and care as opposed to relinquishing control of their lives to children or their spouse. Patients are exhilarated and encouraged to establish goals and expectations from the rehabilitation program.

The pulmonary program is highly organized and structured, but also flexible enough to provide for the needs of each individual patient and family member. Patients learn about the function of their lungs, their medications, self-care, nutrition, their disease, motion and pacing economy, avoidance of secondhand smoke, breathing techniques to reduce shortness of breath and improve oxygenation, and methods of coping and problem solving.

Patients who currently smoke are provided with smoking cessation counseling that assists them in quitting through techniques and programs supported by medications made to decrease the impact of nicotine addiction.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation is most frequently managed in a group setting. Most often, a group transfers the mutual support of people experiencing similar life demands.

Ideally, a complete team of professionals from each therapeutic field works with the patients. Education gives the patients a solid background and reasons to persevere and continue to pursue a rehabilitative effort. As the patient learns techniques, they build habits and skills to manage the disease. Participation is highly encouraged for family members and caregivers.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation starts with a referral. The patient is evaluated for disease severity, qualifying diagnosis, and the ability to safely exercise. Goals of the program are identified. Therapists evaluate for each specific discipline and then set goals for the individual patient. The program proceeds with a structured team effort while the patient is empowered to continually examine program outcomes and goals and make decisions. Team meeting are conducted regularly to access the progress of each section of technique, knowledge and skill. On-going problem solving takes place which includes the team, the family, caregiver and the patient. Medications are modified and adjusted and medical issues are managed and recognized.

Throughout the duration of the pulmonary rehabilitation program the patient is always reinforced and encouraged.