Lung disease can be a life-changing condition. For many patients with conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis or sleep apnea, seeing a pulmonologist can add to overall quality of life. If you have concerns about chronic coughing or shortness of breath, a pulmonologist may also be able to diagnose the root cause of these symptoms.
As part of the treatment of a serious lung condition, pulmonary rehabilitation may be recommended. If you are new to pulmonary care, or if you are participating in the care of a loved one, you may have questions about pulmonary rehab. You may wonder things like ‘who needs this type of care?’ or ‘what is done in pulmonary rehab?’. To gain the most benefit from this type of care, it is important to understand the reason for the care, the benefits and where to find the right program.
What is Done in Pulmonary Rehab?
In broad terms, pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that focuses on multiple ways to help you manage your breathing, increase your energy and decrease your breathlessness. The program varies between patients, but will include tools such as educational sessions, oxygen therapy, exercise techniques and respiratory medications.
For seniors who live in communities like Windsor Estates of St. Charles in St. Charles, Mo., there are many support systems already in place. A community of peers, social opportunities and various levels care are all tools that can help pulmonary patients to improve their conditions and live energized lives. For seniors who live at home, pulmonary care and rehabilitation may be administered in an outpatient center or at the hospital.
So, what is done in pulmonary rehab? While programs may vary in length and format, most of the rehab programs employ a small group format that include elements like:
- Emotional health support
- Education about the condition, medications, oxygen and symptoms
- Breathing techniques
- Nutritional counseling
What are the Benefits of Pulmonary Rehab?
The longer you have lung disease, your muscles may become weak. In order to support your breathing, the muscles needed to breathe must remain strong. During pulmonary rehab, you may receive your own exercise program that is designed to improve endurance and strength. If you are a resident of a senior community like Windsor Estates of St. Charles, the exercise program may be a part of your overall care plan. The program will include education that focuses on:
- How to use home medical equipment, if applicable
- How to handle shortness of breath
- How to manage other symptoms of your specific condition
- How to make smart nutritional choices and manage your weight
- How to use your respiratory medicines to best treat your condition
You will use the knowledge and skills gained in the rehab program to manage your chronic lung condition. As you and your lungs gain strength, you are able to become more active, which in turn increases your level of physical fitness. Many patients ask, “Does pulmonary rehab improve lung function?” The answer is yes, with additional benefits, such as:
- Improvement in quality of life
- Feeling less tired
- Feeling less anxious
- Requiring fewer hospital visits
- Improvement in energy level and ability to exercise
- Experiencing fewer symptoms, including coughing less
Understanding Your Options
As a continuing care community, Windsor Estates works closely with your family and your care team to provide the support you need to live the lifestyle you want. This means offering different levels of care, including respite care, rehabilitation, independent living, assisted living, memory care and extended stay.
We are ready to help you achieve your goals – from health and wellness to social and fitness goals. To understand more about how Windsor Estates can support your plan for the future, contact us today.