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What to Expect

When you begin pulmonary rehabilitation, your rehab team will create a plan specific to your particular needs and abilities. Your plan will likely include activities and therapies that will take place at Temple, and activities and lifestyle changes you will do at home. You will follow this plan throughout your rehab.

  • Exercise training: your rehab team will give you an exercise training plan that is designed for your specific needs. This plan will probably include exercises for both your arms and legs, and cardiovascular activity. Depending on your plan, exercise may be performed at home or a gym, or at Temple, where your team may monitor you while you exercise. Most exercise training plans require you to exercise at least three times per week
  • Education: most rehab programs involve education about your disease and how to manage it. Part of this includes instruction on how to take medications, or may include instructions for how to use oxygen therapy. The education component of your rehab may also include advice on how to quit smoking or ways to avoid substances that irritate the lungs. Your rehab team will also teach you about vaccines and other ways to prevent infections. Finally, you will be taught strategies to help you relieve symptoms, and also when to call your doctor or get emergency medical care
  • Psychological counselling: you will speak with a psychologist or social worker about your feelings and emotions. You may also be able to participate in group therapy, where a group of patients with chronic breathing problems meet with a counsellor together
  • Nutritional counselling: your rehab team will create an eating plan that can help you gain or lose weight. This may be necessary if you are overweight, which can make existing breathing problems even worse, or because certain breathing problems make it difficult to get enough nutrition and maintain a healthy weight
  • Breathing strategies: your rehab team will teach you strategies that can improve your breathing, such as pursed lip breathing. This is a technique where you breathe in through your nose and then slowly breathe out through your mouth while pursing your lips. This helps you to breathe more deeply and more slowly, which can allow more air into the lungs
  • Energy conservation techniques: your rehab team will give you tips on how you can conserve energy in your day-to-day life, which may help you breathe better. These tips may help you avoid movements like lifting and bending, or may help you reduce stress