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Pulmonary Rehabilitation

What is pulmonary rehabilitation?

Pulmonary rehab is a medically supervised program for people who have chronic lung diseases. They may also be used before or after lung surgery. Some of the lung conditions of participants include:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis

  • Interstitial lung disease, such as sarcoidosis and fibrosis

  • Cystic Fibrosis

The goals of pulmonary rehab are to help people:

  • Have less symptoms and fewer complications

  • Need less emergency department visits and hospital stays

  • Improve their daily function

  • Be as independent as possible

  • Have a better quality of life

The pulmonary rehabilitation team

Pulmonary rehabilitation programs may be held at hospitals or other facilities. They may be for inpatients or outpatients. Many skilled health care professionals may be part of the pulmonary rehabilitation team, including the following specialists:

  • Pulmonologist, a lung disease specialist

  • Thoracic (chest) surgeon

  • Physiatrist, a rehabilitation specialist

  • Internists

  • Respiratory therapists

  • Dietitians or nutritionists

  • Physical therapists

  • Occupational therapists

  • Social workers

  • Other therapists and counselors

The pulmonary rehabilitation program

Pulmonary rehabilitation programs are individualized for each person. Patients and their families are actively involved.

Pulmonary rehabilitation programs may include the following:

  • Help with medication

  • Breathing exercises to improve lung function and ability to take part in daily activities

  • Stretching exercises to improve flexibility

  • Weight training to improve muscle strength increase exercise endurance and conditioning

  • Exercise machines, such as stationary bicycles, treadmills, and other equipment

  • Patient and family education and counseling including disease information and self-management skills

  • Help to stop smoking

  • Stress management and emotional support

  • Nutritional counseling

  • Assistance with home respiratory equipment, like oxygen and nebulizers

  • Job or work counseling

Online Medical Reviewer: Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 7/17/2014
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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