Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program

The Henry Ford Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program helps patients to better manage chronic lung disease. Patients who may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation include those with emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Symptoms such as shortness of breath can be improved through exercises learned in pulmonary rehabilitation. The key components of our pulmonary rehabilitation program include patient evaluation, pulmonary disease education, therapeutic exercise, and maintenance and follow-up.

  • Evaluation: Before enrollment in pulmonary rehabilitation, patients are evaluated by a staff pulmonologist. If a patient has symptoms from the lung disease, a referral is made to Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Our program coordinator, under the guidance of the medical director, then evaluates and determines if the patient is a candidate and able to safely participate in the pulmonary rehabilitation program. Once enrolled, the patient's short- and long-term goals are identified, and an individualized plan is developed to meet the patient's educational and conditioning needs. Expertise also is sought from physical and occupational therapy, social work, nutritional counseling, and psychiatry for psychological support, if necessary, to ensure a complete multidisciplinary approach to pulmonary rehabilitation.
  • Education: Patient education about lung disease helps promote long-term adherence to the action plan developed for each patient. The topics covered in education sessions include:
    • How COPD affects the lungs
    • Managing shortness of breath
    • Relaxation and stress management
    • Medications
    • Prevention and treatment of complications, such as respiratory infection and congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Therapeutic Exercise: Exercise training in patients with chronic lung disease has been shown to improve shortness of breath, the ability to perform normal activities, and overall quality of life. Patients participate in supervised exercise sessions 3 days per week for at least 6 weeks. Activities are specific to a patient's needs and lifestyle, and include flexibility and strengthening exercises along with walking, bicycling, and arm exercises. Patients progress according to their tolerance and performance.
  • Maintenance and Follow-up: After completing the educational and conditioning portions of the program, the patient may follow an individualized home-based maintenance program or may choose to participate in bi-weekly maintenance sessions for a small fee. During these sessions, patients perform their home exercise routine under supervision and have the opportunity to ask for advice and information. We remain in contact with patients through telephone calls and office visits.
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