The Center for Cardiac, Pulmonary, and Vascular Fitness

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program

The pulmonary rehabilitation program offers evaluation, therapy and education for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other restrictive lung diseases or conditions. Patients with limited lung function experience a diminished quality of life as symptoms progress and activities of daily living become more difficult. For many individuals, emotional health also suffers.

Man on exercise machine
Pulmonary rehabilitation helps individuals improve their quality of life by helping manage symptoms and conserve energy.

The goal of the pulmonary rehabilitation program is to help patients better understand their illness and manage their symptoms, while adopting and maintaining a health-sustaining lifestyle.

What Is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a therapeutic program for those who experience lung problems such as:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung surgery
  • Before and after lung transplantation

Pulmonary rehabilitation allows patients to optimize lung function through modified exercise classes, behavioral modification strategies, and education about the disease or condition. The program, which improves endurance and muscle strength, is based on your medical needs, personal goals, walking ability and limitations. The staff monitors patients to promote safe, effective activity. Individualized programs progress gradually, based on your needs and tolerance, with the goal of helping you engage in activities more comfortably while breathing more easily.

Outpatient pulmonary health and rehabilitation programs are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Our Pulmonary Rehabilitation Team

The pulmonary rehabilitation staff consists of a behavioral psychologist, clinical pharmacists, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, physicians, registered dietitians, registered nurses and respiratory therapists.

How Does Pulmonary Rehabilitation Help?

Pulmonary rehabilitation helps individuals improve their quality of life. Although pulmonary rehabilitation is not a cure for lung disease, it can help a great deal by helping you manage symptoms and conserve energy. The aim is for you to experience improved breathing with fewer problems.

Other benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation include:

  • Decreased symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue
  • Improved ability to function in daily life
  • Increased stamina for daily activities
  • Enhanced strength and endurance
  • Better management of anxiety and depression

Educational Programs

Our education classes focus on COPD as well as other chronic lung diseases to provide patients with information regarding:

  • Medications, including therapeutic effects, side effects, inhaler use and self-care techniques
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Healthy habits, including eating better, controlling weight and quitting smoking
  • The importance of exercise and returning to enjoyable activities
  • Strategies to manage breathing problems and retraining to improve breathing
  • How to assess your symptoms and when to seek medical treatment
  • Coping skills
  • Travel tips

Who Is Eligible?

Most insurance plans cover pulmonary rehabilitation for 12 weeks if you have a qualifying diagnosis. To avoid unexpected medical expenses or copays, please contact your insurance carrier before enrolling to confirm coverage and inquire about costs.

Cardiopulmonary Maintenance Program

In the program, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation graduates continue to practice and expand their healthier lifestyles. Others, who are at increased risk of heart disease but have not experienced a cardiac episode, or who have been diagnosed with pulmonary disease, enroll to enroll to learn healthy living practices. The programs begin with a health assessment and goals for maintaining or improving your health. We then design a personalized program to be undertaken with medical supervision to help you achieve greater independence.

Unique aspects of our rehabilitation, maintenance and prevention programs include:

  • Cardiac yoga classes
  • Resistance training workshops
  • Cooking demonstrations, food shopping excursions, and heart-healthy food festivals
  • Family nights
  • Cardiac risk reduction programs
  • Support groups
  • Respiratory, nutritional, behavioral and medication consultations
  • Harmonica therapy (see TV news coverage about the program and its holiday concert)