What is pulmonary rehabilitation?
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program to help people with chronic pulmonary
disease. Pulmonary rehabilitation is an individualized program that includes an
initial assessment, patient education, exercise training, psychosocial
assistance, and disease prevention.
Pulmonary rehabilitation has three major objectives:
- Control and alleviate symptoms of respiratory impairment
- Improve the quality of the patient's life
- Optimize the patient's functional capacity
A physician, nurse or respiratory therapist will
complete the initial assessment. The education portion instructs patients on how
to deal with the effects of lung disease. Patients are taught breathing and
cough techniques, stress and anxiety management, energy conservation, nutrition,
and disease and symptom prevention. The exercise portion is individually
tailored to meet the needs of patients. Exercise equipment used to increase
endurance as well as strength and flexibility can include treadmills, stationary
bikes, small weights or Thera-Bands®. Patients dealing with a chronic
lung condition may also benefit from psychosocial assistance. Most pulmonary
rehabilitation programs are 2 or 3 days per week for 6 to 10 weeks. The
long-term goal is to determine how the patient may best maintain or improve the
activities they have been taught in pulmonary rehabilitation.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a team approach that works
to maximize strength and endurance, teach control techniques for shortness of
breath, and increase independence. Rehabilitation is not a cure. However, it
will give patients the ability to control their symptoms and to live more
comfortably and effectively with their lung disease.
Who should have pulmonary rehabilitation?
Any person with a chronic lung disease might benefit from pulmonary
rehabilitation. Examples of lung conditions that may benefit from pulmonary
rehabilitation include COPD, asthma, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis and
other restrictive lung disease. Pulmonary rehabilitation also may better prepare
patients undergoing chest surgery as well as help patients with post-surgery recovery.
How are patients chosen for pulmonary rehabilitation?
Any patient with symptoms of respiratory disease is a candidate for pulmonary
rehabilitation. Rehabilitation programs are most effective when instituted while
the disease is in a moderate stage. Patients with advanced lung disease,
including those who are awaiting lung transplantation, show improvements from
Maximizing success of pulmonary rehabilitation
The biggest cause of poor results from pulmonary rehabilitation is a lack of
motivation. Patients must make the effort during rehabilitation in order to see
results. With effort, the patient's condition will improve, regardless of the
stage of the illness. Illnesses such as heart disease and arthritis can hinder
the success of rehabilitation as well. If you have a disabling disease, your
pulmonary rehabilitation specialist will design a program specific to your needs.
American Lung Association, Midland States: Program Information: COPD: What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?
www.lungusa.org Accessed 2/2/2011
National Heart Lung and Blood Institutes. Diseases and Conditions Index. Lung Diseases: Pulmonary Rehabilitation. What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?
www.nhlbi.nih.gov/ Accessed 2/2/2011
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 5/7/2010...#8904