Why Do We Need Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Home
What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?
Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a supervised education and exercise program for people who have chronic (long-term) lung diseases such as COPD, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, or other breathing problems. In this program, healthcare providers teach patients new skills and supervise exercise programs to help them with shortness of breath, increase their strength, improve their ability to do daily living activities such as housework or going out with their family, and improve their overall quality of life.
Who Needs Pulmonary Rehabilitation?
Pulmonary rehabilitation aims to assist people who have chronic lung diseases. The program’s primary purpose is to enable people to reach and maintain their maximum level of independence and functioning. Examples of chronic lung conditions include:
- Patients suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
- Patients suffering from Interstitial lung disease (sarcoidosis and pulmonary fibrosis).
- Patients who have lung cancer and have undergone lung cancer surgery.
- After and before lung transplantation in patients undergoing lung volume reduction surgery.
- Asthma patients
- Patients with cystic fibrosis.
- Patients diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension.
What to Expect During Pulmonary Rehabilitation?
Pulmonary Rehabilitation programs have several components, which include:
The assessment will be done by a pulmonologist, respiratory therapist or other healthcare providers. The patient may be given a stress test that measures their oxygen levels, heart rate and blood pressure, followed by pulmonary function tests to check their breathing and a walking test to measure how far they can go in six minutes.
2. Breathing techniques
The respiratory therapists teach specific techniques such as pursed-lip breathing, yoga breathing, or breathing with medical equipment such as Bipap or CPAP. With these techniques, the patient can control their breathing better and avoid feeling out of breath, especially when they are physically active or under stress. You may also learn ways to help clear mucus from your lungs.
3. Exercise training
Exercise training is the most important segment of pulmonary rehabilitation. It aims to strengthen the back, arms, legs, and the muscles we use to breathe. Training can also help patients build stamina and flexibility, making it easier to do everyday tasks and the things they enjoy. However, physical limitations may limit the types of exercise training that can be done.
Education and counselling are also key parts of pulmonary rehabilitation which may include the following:
- They explain to the patient how the lungs work.
- They teach effective ways to take their medicines.
- They assist them in recognizing early warning signs of an outbreak and developing a plan to avoid or manage one.
- If the patient is a smoker, they educate the patient on how smoking affects their lungs and encourage them to quit.
- Patients may also learn how to save their energy and avoid feeling short of breath by finding easier ways to do daily tasks. This could include teaching techniques for avoiding simple movements and relieving stress.
- People with chronic lung disease may also experience depression, anxiety, and other emotional problems. Proper education can assist patients in dealing with symptoms and improving their overall quality of life.
- They may also advice the patient on what foods to eat to alleviate symptoms.
Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Home
- The patient may experience fewer symptoms, such as a decreased cough or shortness of breath.
- It improves physical effort tolerance. Patients may be able to walk more or exercise more effectively.
- It improves their quality of life.
- Monitoring oxygen and carbon dioxide levels regularly may help control symptoms.
- It may help reduce anxiety.
- Patients may feel less tired.
- It helps patients avoid recurrent hospitalization.
- Improves the patient’s long-term outcomes
Limitations of Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Patients with few conditions are not recommended for pulmonary rehabilitation, including patients with the following conditions.
- Patients suffering from unstable cardiovascular disease, uncontrolled diabetes, or an ongoing orthopedic illness that prevents them from exercising.
- Inability to exercise safely due to other medical conditions, such as severe arthritis or severe peripheral vascular disease.
- Patients with untreated psychiatric illness and cognitive impairment find it difficult to follow directions.
- Another criterion for exclusion from pulmonary rehabilitation is a lack of motivation.
How Safe is Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Home?
A home-based pulmonary rehabilitation program for patients receiving long-term oxygen therapy is safe and beneficial. It increases exercise tolerance, decreases dyspnea after exertion, and improves the quality of life without causing any complications related to exercise performance.
A comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program is rapidly becoming an essential part of the management of lung and breathing disorders. It is not only cost-effective, but it also helps people with lung diseases manage their symptoms better, improve their fitness and ability to perform routine daily tasks, and improve their overall well-being to the greatest extent possible.
An effective Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program also focuses on behavioral modification in addition to standardized exercise regimens and strength training. This causes long-term and positive changes in the patient. Furthermore, empowering patients through education about the disease, smoking cessation, and nutrition is a positive step in the right direction.
With the global prevalence of COPD increasing, a safe and effective option such as Pulmonary Rehabilitation should be actively encouraged and used. Keeping in mind the various effects of COPD, we at Apollo Homecare have structured a pulmonary rehabilitation plan at home to complement the medical care. Our programs are tailored to the needs of the patient and are administered for a period of 2 to 4 weeks.
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