Although pulmonary rehabilitation can’t cure your lung disease, if you participate in a pulmonary rehabilitation program, you may notice that breathing is easier and you have less breathing problems.
What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a service that is designed for those who experience lung problems such as:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Chronic Bronchitis
- Pulmonary Hypertension
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Interstitial lung disease
- Lung cancer and lung cancer surgery
- Lung volume reduction surgery before and after lung transplantation
Pulmonary rehabilitation includes exercise classes and education about your lung disease or condition. Pulmonary rehabilitation may help you participate in activities with less shortness of breath, as well as teach you how to live better with your lung condition. With a physician’s referral, the pulmonary rehabilitation team can establish a personalized program to meet your specific needs and goals.
What to Expect
Outpatient rehabilitation sessions are held two to three days per week for eight to 12 weeks. Each session lasts approximately one to two hours. The program combines education, therapeutic exercises and functional activities. The rehabilitation team assists with coping with and understanding your lung disease, allowing you to once again function independently.
The program is customized to your needs with a focus on improving your quality of life. Emphasis is placed on providing a better understanding of your lung disease, improving breathing and coughing techniques, symptom monitoring, supervising exercise, smoking cessation and diet.
Once you have successfully completed outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation, maintenance sessions are recommended. The maintenance program is tailored to your needs and meant to encourage healthy living. These sessions are not covered by insurance. Referrals are required.
InsuranceMedicare and most insurance companies will pay for the components of pulmonary rehabilitation. The amount of coverage depends on your specific insurance company.
Education classes focus on COPD as well as other chronic lung diseases to provide you with information about:
- Medications, including drug action, side effects, using an inhaler and self-care techniques
- Understanding and using oxygen therapy
- Diet, nutrition and weight management
- Breathing retraining
- Importance of exercise
- Strategies for managing breathing problems
- Symptom assessment and knowledge about when to seek medical treatment
Monitored and Supervised Exercise
A physical activity plan is tailored to your needs. Exercise will help improve your endurance and muscle strength, so you're better able to carry out daily activities.
People who have chronic lung diseases are more prone to depression, anxiety and other emotional problems. Many pulmonary rehabilitation programs offer counseling or support groups. If your program doesn't, your pulmonary rehabilitation team can refer you to these services.
Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Pulmonary rehabilitation helps you to improve your quality of life. Although pulmonary rehabilitation can’t cure your lung disease, it can be of great benefit and you may notice improved breathing effort and less breathing problems.
Other benefits include:
- Decrease the symptoms of your disease or condition
- Ability to function better in your daily life
- Increased ability to exercise
- Decreased symptoms and better management of anxiety and depression
Pulmonary Rehabilitation allows you to make the most of the limited lung function you have.
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