If your lungs are permanently affected by a medical condition such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you may benefit from Beacon Health System’s pulmonary rehabilitation program. Our customized services can help you reduce and manage your symptoms, including persistent shortness of breath and low energy levels. Pulmonary rehab can increase your ability to function.
What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a supervised outpatient program for people with chronic lung disease whose breathing problems interfere with normal daily activities. Through a combination of exercise, education and other support services, the program is designed to help patients achieve a number of important goals, including:
- Safely beginning and maintaining physical activity
- Making lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking and losing weight
- Managing stress, depression or other emotional needs that often accompany a serious illness
- Learning techniques to better manage breathing and conserve energy
- Preventing your condition from getting worse and reducing flare-ups
Pulmonary rehabilitation is often prescribed along with other medical treatments including medication, inhalers and oxygen therapy.
Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Although pulmonary rehabilitation cannot completely eliminate your breathing problems, it still offers many benefits for people of all ages. These include:
- Improved fitness and endurance, allowing you to be more physically active with less shortness of breath
- Increased strength
- Higher energy levels
- Improved emotional health including lower stress levels
- Improved understanding of how your lungs work and how your disease affects them
- Fewer hospitalizations
Our program is designed to help patients with a number of chronic respiratory conditions, including:
- Chronic airway obstruction
- Chronic bronchitis
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Pulmonary atelectasis
- Cystic fibrosis
Before you get started, you’ll need to get a referral for pulmonary rehabilitation from your primary care doctor or pulmonologist. Once your referral has been coordinated, you will attend an orientation session and undergo an evaluation, including a pulmonary function test to assess your current lung function.
Next, you’ll work closely with a team of medical professionals that may include pulmonologists, registered nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, psychologists, respiratory therapists, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
Your team will help you create a customized exercise plan, learn new strategies to manage your breathing and energy, monitor your progress and adjust your goals as needed.
Although most pulmonary rehab programs last from four to 12 weeks, the amount of time you’ll spend in rehabilitation depends on your unique needs and how well you’re doing.
Once you’ve completed your pulmonary rehabilitation program, you’ll need to continue managing your own exercise, breathing techniques, medications and lifestyle choices to ensure you make the most of your lung function. Until then, we’ll provide the coaching, tools and support that will empower you to take those first steps on your own – and live life to the fullest.