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Pulmonary rehabilitation increases strength, stamina, quality of life

By Anna Fritz, News and Community
October 2, 2014

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program for people with chronic lung diseases like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), emphysema, interstitial lung disease, or chronic bronchitis. It’s designed to provide patients with the tools to lead more satisfying lives and restore them to their highest functional capacity. Best of all, it brings them hope.

Hope is clearly visible in the video below. You can see it in the faces, hear it in the comments, and watch it in the improved quality of life of our clients.


That's the major aim of pulmonary rehab—to improve quality of life. We do this by:

  • Decreasing respiratory symptoms and complications
  • Encouraging self-management and control over daily functioning
  • Improving physical conditioning and exercise performance
  • Improving emotional well-being
  • Reducing hospitalizations/readmissions
Because most lung diseases are progressive and have no cure, people often give up and think they have no choice but to let their health deteriorate. “Almost 100% of patients who come to pulmonary rehabilitation are quite deconditioned,” says Dr. Jennifer Shalz, Medical Director of St. Luke’s Heart Health and Rehabilitation Center in Meridian. “Most of them feel terrible.”

Dr. Shalz and the Pulmonary Rehab team want to spread the word to patients and referring physicians that people with chronic lung disease can vastly improve their quality of life with this program.

Patients are closely monitored as they learn how to exercise effectively, breathe properly, and pace themselves. The team designs a personalized plan for each patient, starting with what the patient is able to do and increasing their abilities over time. Components of the program include:

  • Medical management
  • Exercise
  • Breathing retraining and how to live while on oxygen
  • Education
  • Emotional support
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Support for the caregiver
  • Medication management

The medically supervised program features a rehab team that includes Dr. Shalz, exercise physiologists, dietitians, social workers, respiratory therapists, nurses, occupational therapists, and a tobacco treatment counselor.

Watch the video and if it speaks to you and your condition, please talk with your doctor and ask if you or your family member are a candidate for pulmonary rehab at St. Luke’s Heart Health and Rehabilitation Center

About The Author

Anna Fritz is a writer and editor with St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing.

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St. Luke's Heart Health and Rehabilitation Center
3525 E. Louise Dr.
(Meadowlake Building, Suite 500)
Meridian, ID 83642
(208) 706-7050