Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both, causes more deaths everyday than diabetes or breast cancer. An estimated 24 million adults in the United States have COPD.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is recognized as an integral component of the standard quality medical therapy for patients with COPD. Pulmonary rehabilitation alleviates patients’ symptoms, optimizes their daily function, and improves their disability from chronic respiratory disease. Patients with COPD that are not treated with proper medications and therapy usually have more frequent hospitalizations and exacerbations, with an increase in seriousness of the disease or greater symptoms.
The pulmonary rehabilitation program at Howard Young Medical Center, part of Ministry Care, started in 1995 for those with COPD and other pulmonary diseases.
“For patients suffering from COPD, the pulmonary rehabilitation benefits are substantial and include decreased symptoms, improved quality of life, increased exercise tolerance, greater independence in daily activities, and decreased hospitalizations,” said Kerry Kindt, Registered Respiratory Therapist, Howard Young Health Care.
The pulmonary rehabilitation program consists of 36 sessions. Once the regular program is completed one may choose to continue in the maintenance program. Last year the pulmonary rehabilitation program had 659 regular patient visits and 1,432 maintenance visits.
One person benefiting from the pulmonary rehabilitation program is Judy Minaudo, age 70, of St. Germain. Minaudo started the regular program in 1999 and has since continued with the maintenance program. Being a strong advocate of this program she also recognized the need for a support group for patients needing to talk and support each other with their common issues. Minaudo started the support group program in 1999 and continues as its’ chairperson today.
“I really believe the support group and the maintenance program have kept me out of the hospital and keep me going,” said Judy Minaudo, pulmonary rehabilitation maintenance program participant and pulmonary support group chairperson.
The pulmonary rehabilitation program is held at Howard Young Medical Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The support group meeting is held the second Tuesday of each month, April through November, at 10 a.m., and features different speakers.
Patients need a physician referral for the pulmonary rehabilitation program, with specific tests required in order to qualify for Medicare coverage. For more information, call the pulmonary rehabilitation department at 715-356-8617.