For people in the Mercer/Bucks County region living with lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, chronic bronchitis and pulmonary fibrosis, Capital Health is launching its new Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program in December. Located in the Wellness Center at Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell, the program provides a comprehensive outpatient exercise and education program to help patients reduce and control the symptoms and complications related to lung disease and improve their quality of life.
"Collaboration is the key to the program's success, and participants see the benefits of this approach right from the start," said Dr. Diana Kolman, director of the new Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Capital Health and director of the Interventional Pulmonary Program. "After getting a physician referral for the program, patients undergo pulmonary function tests and interview with our staff before working closely with our team of physicians, registered nurses, exercise physiologists, and registered respiratory therapists. Together, our team and your referring physician develop a customized, carefully coordinated program that helps strengthen breathing muscles and enhance daily living. Patients with severe emphysema may also participate in the program to determine if they are candidates for non-surgical treatment."
All activities are carefully structured and participants are monitored through continuous EKG and heart rate (via telemetry) monitoring, blood pressure checks, and intermittent pulse oximetry (oxygen monitoring).
Education also plays an essential role in the program, with individual and group discussions provided on topics such as nutrition and lung disease, breathing retraining, infection prevention/bronchial hygiene, oxygen use, respiratory medications, stress management, and conserving energy. Participants attend education sessions twice each week, before or after their exercise session, and meet with a registered dietitian to address any individual needs.
The overall duration of the program varies according to each individual's needs and goals. Loved ones are also encouraged to participate to provide additional support to program participants.
Most insurance carriers cover the cost of this program, but some providers may require a copay or limit coverage to a certain number of visits. Anyone considering the program should check with his or her insurance provider regarding coverage for pulmonary rehabilitation.