According to the American Thoracic Society, any individual with stable chronic respiratory disease who has experience impairment in quality of life is a candidate for pulmonary rehabilitation. Early intervention can help delay the decline in functional capacity.
Individuals should be ambulatory and motivated to participate in a self-care program. The most common diagnoses for our patients are COPD, interstitial lung disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and history of ARDS. We also see pre-and post-surgical patients for lung transplantation, resection, lobectomy, and pneumonectomy.
Pulmonary rehabilitation functions as an interactive communication tool between physician and patient. It consists of 24 sessions completed in approximately two months. It also does the following:
- Provides information regarding the patient's progress in exercise intensity and duration; also monitors ECG, vital signs, symptoms, and exercise responses such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, perceived exertion, and dyspnea.
- Provides the patient with specific guidelines for physical activity including exercise, recreational activities, and activities of daily living.
- Serves as a resource for educational information and emotional support for patients.
- Includes these education sessions: respiratory anatomy and physiology, development and detection of lung disease, breathing retraining, pulmonary medications, using an inhaler and aerochamber, inspiratory muscle training, controlled coughing, postural drainage, panic control, stress management, relaxation techniques, work simplification/energy conservation, proper nutrition, benefits and principles of exercise, pulse-taking, exercise precautions, and implementation of a home exercise program.
- Facilitates return to work for some individuals
- Promotes independence and self-reliance
- Decreases anxiety and depression
- Improves self-image
- Reduces exacerbations of the disease and hospitalizations
- Improves quality of life