Pulmonary Rehabilitation: What Is It And Why Do I Need It?
Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment and lifestyle adjustments of those suffering from chronic lung disease. Included in an effective PR program are experts from various fields, including PT, OT, RT, LCSW, RD, and MD. For those suffering from chronic lung disease, this is often times the most comprehensive treatment option available, and without question increases the patients ability to perform tasks and activities that will increase patient satisfaction and quality of life.
To Learn More About Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Upon an initial visit to PR, the patient can expect to have an evaluation performed by a licensed PT to determine what physical limitations there may be, and what special therapies must be included for this particular patient. As the evaluation progresses, an evaluation from an RT is also warranted. This will give greater insight into the respiratory abilities and offer the rehab team the information required to set goals with the patient and determine a plan of care.
Subsequent visits will include therapies that will be exercise based, complete with patient specific therapies, and also include specific breathing exercises that will enable those targeted muscles to be strengthened, as well as breathing exercises to assist in removing additional air that can get trapped in the lungs. Percussion therapy is another treatment that needs to be offered, if the patient has copious amounts of secretions and requires assistance in managing them and expelling them. Learning tricks that will help them control their mucous and rid themselves of it will increase the ability for the patient to oxygenate and perform. The combination of these therapies on a continual, regular basis, will ultimately offer the patient the greatest amount of increase, benefit, and improvement.
Medication usage and delivery must also be addressed. Correct use of medication and understanding of when and where this use is required and appropriate is essential in maintaining control of their symptoms. This topic will be discussed with a respiratory therapist who specializes in the treatment and education of the chronic disease patient. The education they receive in their PR program is often the only education they receive, and it needs to be thorough and complete.
Diet also needs to be addressed. Depending on which stage the patients lung disease is, their diet may need to be altered to more appropriately fit their nutritional requirements. Partaking of foods that increase the amount of CO2 in their blood is discouraged, and replacing those foods with healthier alternatives should be discussed. This offers the patient optimal results for their nutritional status, which in turn provides them with the nutrients they require to build muscle and increase cellular efficiency.
Considering the emotional and mental state of the patient is also essential. Providing them with psychological assistance often times proves to be a necessary part of their therapy. Chronic disease tends to burden its victims with depression and anxiety. This only increases their difficulty breathing and reduces the mind/body connection that is necessary to maintain control of their emotional and physical well being.
Overall, participation in a pulmonary rehabilitation program as early in the disease process as possible increases outcomes and produces greater results. The key is to treat the patient as a whole, not merely to treat the individual symptoms or parts of the disease that exist. The best treatment requires inclusion of all aspects of the patients health; mind and body together. This can provide the patient with the best chance and opportunity to return to activities, maintain lifestyle, and experience happiness and satisfaction.