What Is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

For people with a chronic lung disease like pulmonary fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary rehabilitation can serve as part of the treatment routine.

The benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation are far reaching and can help improve your lung function. 

However, it’s important to consider the facts when deciding whether to begin pulmonary rehabilitation. With that in mind, keep reading to discover exactly what is pulmonary rehabilitation?

What is pulmonary rehabilitation?

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that combines exercise, education, and support to help people learn to breathe and function at the highest level possible.

During pulmonary rehabilitation, you’ll work with a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists, who will help you work to improve your physical condition and learn how to manage your condition so that you can remain healthy and active after completing the course.

Keep in mind that you must be referred by your doctor and have spirometry test results within the last year that show you have a lung disease.

Your pulmonary rehabilitation team will create a plan that is made to fit your needs and abilities, including exercises and lifestyle changes to continue at home.

What will happen during pulmonary rehabilitation?

While you participate in pulmonary rehabilitation, you will first be assessed, which can be done by a nurse, respiratory therapist, exercise physiologist, or doctor. You will receive education on subjects to help you cope with your chronic lung disease.

Under supervision by your pulmonary rehabilitation team, you’ll begin to learn and do exercises to help you feel better. Many programs offer assistance with smoking cessation and techniques to reduce stress.

During pulmonary rehabilitation, you could learn about support systems and nutritional information. You may also learn exercises that you can do at home to continue your progress through self-management.

What are the main goals and benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation?

Some of the main goals and benefits of participating in pulmonary rehabilitation include:

  • Improve quality of life
  • Reduce hospitalizations
  • Help your shortness of breath
  • Increase muscle strength and endurance
  • Give education about your pulmonary condition
  • Improve your ability to cope with daily activities
  • Understand how to use medications and oxygen appropriately

There are a variety of pulmonary rehabilitation patient resources available, which can be found online, or you can ask your doctor.