August 6, 2013

Do you or anyone you know have pulmonary disease? Do you get out of breath when you walk short distances? Do you have to stop and take a rest when you climb the stairs? Does taking a shower and getting dressed make you winded and tired? If so, outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation may be for you.

Outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation is a comprehensive program that includes the elements of aerobic exercise combined with education and breathing retraining. The purpose of the program is to limit and reduce the physiologic and psychological effects of pulmonary disease on the individual.

Individuals with known pulmonary disease, including COPD, Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, Interstitial Pulmonary Fibrosis, Lung Cancer and lung cancer surgery, Sarcoidosis with lung involvement, Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis with lung involvement, Pulmonary Hypertension, Rheumatoid pulmonary disease, Bronchiectasis and Collagen Vascular Lung disorders are candidates and can benefit from outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation. Pre and post thoracic surgical/lung transplant patients also participate in the program to prepare and recover from surgery. *

To enroll in the program, you must have a prescription from your physician, one of the qualifying diagnoses mentioned above and show some impairment on your breathing tests.

Objectives for the program include, but are not limited to:

1. To control and alleviate, as much as possible, the symptoms and pathophysiological complications of respiratory impairment
2. To improve physical work capacity and train the patient to achieve his or her optimal capacity to carry out activities of daily living
3. To improve quality of life
4. To continue and return participants to employment when possible
5. To increase exercise tolerance
6. To promote independence and self reliance
7. To reduce exacerbations and hospitalizations
8. To decrease psychological symptoms such as anxiety or depression
9. To encourage participation in recreational pursuits

Our Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at Helen Hayes Hospital is a 3x/week program for six weeks (total of 18 visits). Each visit is 2 ½ hours long and is made up of a supervised one hour breathing-endurance exercise class, supervised one hour aerobic exercise class on either a treadmill or Nustep machine and a half hour education class which covers a variety of topics all related to pulmonary disease. Classes are run by trained professionals who specialize in pulmonary rehabilitation and patients are monitored during exercise classes with oximetry (a simple device to ensure safe oxygen levels). Supplemental oxygen is provided to participants in the program during exercise, if needed.

For more information regarding Helen Hayes Hospital’s Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, please contact Steven Lichtman, EdD, FAACVPR at 845-786-4486.

Michelle Caravano, PT

*Please note that not all insurance plans cover all pulmonary diagnoses. Insurance coverage can vary from plan to plan. Prior to outpatient enrollment, patients should check their individual coverage.