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Pulmonology

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Helps Patients Breathe Better

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Helps Patients Breathe Better
Barbara Young feels most comfortable exercising at pulmonary rehabilitation, and she says the program has improved her quality of life.
A mix of education, exercise and support, pulmonary rehabilitation helps people living with chronic lung conditions—like pulmonary fibrosis, bronchitis, asthma, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)— understand and manage their health.

“Regardless of the condition, the rehabilitation is the same for everyone,” explains Nayda Agosto, RRT, lead respiratory therapist. “Together with respiratory therapists Kathi Robinson, RRT, and Donna Meredith, RRT, we focus on education of lung function, proper medication technique, nutrition, energy conservation, infection control and exercise.”

Comprised of multiple phases, pulmonary rehabilitation includes:

  • Phase one – Inpatient referral by physician. Pulmonary rehabilitation therapists assess the hospitalized patient, discuss breathing condition and schedule an evaluation after discharge.
  • Phase two – Meets twice per week and involves a maximum of 18, two-hour sessions with a variety of educational components and scheduled exercise.
  • Phase three – Also known as maintenance. Meets three to five times per week and includes exercise with treadmills, stationary bicycles, rowing machines and upper body weight machines.

Donna Deitch, Barbara Young and Emma Harkness come from different places and backgrounds, but met while attending pulmonary rehabilitation at Lee Memorial Hospital. The ladies share the fears and frustrations of their conditions, but also support, encourage and look out for one another.

“We have become a family,” Donna says. Barbara agrees and says she feels most comfortable exercising at pulmonary rehabilitation, even though there is a great gym right in her community. “I know the staff are keeping an eye on me, and so are the other participants,” she says. “This is such a valuable program—it has improved my quality of life and kept me out of the hospital.”

As one of the younger participants, Emma says she hopes that the work she is investing in and education she is getting now will help keep her healthier longer. “Before I started pulmonary rehab, I was in the hospital at least once a month,” she says. “Now that I’m healthier and managing my COPD, I haven’t been to the hospital, and I’m enjoying my life.”

All three women are physically stronger, breathing easier, managing their conditions and staying out of the hospital—the goal and intention of the pulmonary rehabilitation program.

To learn more about pulmonary rehabilitation, call Lee Memorial Hospital at 239-343-3520 or Cape Coral Hospital at 239-424-2161.

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Breath of Life for Pulmonary Patients

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