Individuals with respiratory conditions often find everyday tasks difficult.
“Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing can make even walking a challenge,” said Jennifer Newman, director of Cardiopulmonary Rehab at Lake Regional Health System. “Pulmonary rehabilitation helps people with chronic breathing problems breathe better, so activity is easier and their quality of life is better.”
During the week of March 11–17, Lake Regional Health System’s Cardiopulmonary Rehab department joins health care organizations nationwide in observing National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week.
What is pulmonary rehabilitation?
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs provide patients with individualized plans that help them overcome their breathing challenges.
“You may cough often, wheeze, feel short of breath or get tired during simple tasks,” Newman said. “Regular pulmonary rehab is designed to reduce symptoms, increase activity and reduce your need for acute medical care.”
Plans might include exercise conditioning, breathing retraining, nutritional counseling and goal setting. Physicians structure and supervise each plan.
A majority of pulmonary rehab patients suffer from a pulmonary disease, such as COPD. However, pulmonary rehab can benefit anyone with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease.
What are the outcomes?
Aside from better breathing, pulmonary rehab can reduce respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath and fatigue. Increased muscle strength, endurance and the ability to perform tasks that once seemed daunting are also benefits of regular therapy.
“The biggest outcome is the increased quality of life,” Newman said. “For many patients struggling to keep up with their family or who have trouble just getting day-to-day things accomplished, pulmonary rehab makes a huge difference.”
Regular pulmonary rehab also can decrease levels of depression and anxiety, as well as dependence on medical resources.
What does Lake Regional have to offer?
Lake Regional offers Phase II Pulmonary Rehab, an individualized exercise program for patients who have lung disease. Exercise sessions are 60 minutes to 90 minutes, two or three days a week depending on the clinic location. Patients receive monitoring of their blood pressure, oxygen, weight and heart function during each session.
A team of professionals, including a registered dietitian, registered nurses and an exercise physiologist, works with each patient, and every month, the patient’s referring physician reviews the individualized plan and charts the patient’s progress. Weekly pulmonary education classes focus on breathing techniques, energy conservation, medications and oxygen use.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is offered at Lake Regional Hospital and Lake Regional clinic locations in Camdenton, Eldon, Lake Ozark and Laurie.
A referral from a primary care physician or pulmonologist is required to begin pulmonary rehabilitation.
Lake Regional also offers the Better Breathers support group for individuals with lung disease. The group meets the third Wednesday of each month at 2 p.m. in the hospital’s Cardiac Rehab center.
For more information about Lake Regional pulmonology services, visit www.lakeregional.com/lungcare.