Recovery & Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program of exercise and education designed to improve the health and well-being of individuals with lung disease.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is recommended for persons with lung diseases such as chronic pulmonary fibrosis (COPT), pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma or other chronic pulmonary diseases. Family members are encouraged to participate in the educational sessions.

During the program, various professionals may collaborate in providing your care. For example, a respiratory therapist might show you how to use specific treatments and breathing techniques. An occupational therapist might teach you easier ways to do everyday chores. A dietician might advise you about healthy eating.

Pulmonary rehabilitation consists of 3 phases:

  • Phase 1 provides information during the acute stages of the illness
  • Phase 2 involves classes which meet twice each week for monitored exercise and instruction in pulmonary disease management.
  • Phase 3 provides regular ongoing exercise supervision and support.

The goal is to help patients return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life. These goals are often met by:

  • Decreasing respiratory symptoms and complications
  • Encouraging independence through self-management
  • Improving physical conditioning and exercise performance
  • Improving social, emotional, and vocational status
  • Reducing visits to the hospital

To help reach these goals, pulmonary rehabilitation may include the following:

  • Medication management to help reduce respiratory symptoms, complications, and hospitalization
  • Breathing exercises to improve lung capacity and fitness
  • Calisthenics or stretching exercises to improve flexibility
  • Weight training to increase exercise endurance and conditioning
  • Patient and family education and counseling
  • Smoking cessation
  • Stress management and emotional support
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Assistance with obtaining respiratory equipment and portable oxygen
  • Vocational counseling


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