“Remember to breathe. It is after all, the secret of life.” – Gregory Maguire
Breathing is a necessity of life. So, it can be pretty alarming when you feel like you can’t catch your breath or like you’re choking on air. Lung issues can make you feel like the very source of your vitality is compromised.
There is a way to take control and bring your lungs back to health – acute care with pulmonary rehabilitation. Lung-related illnesses benefit from rehabilitation programs, and around-the-clock inpatient care may be in your best interest for more serious conditions.
Inpatient Respiratory Rehabilitation Overview
Inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that helps you optimize your lung health with 24-hour care. During your time in rehabilitation, you may spend several hours per day over several weeks in various forms of therapy to help you recover quickly.
Some of the objectives of a pulmonary rehabilitation program are to:
- Increase independence and quality of life
- Slow the progression of chronic lung disease
- Improve the way you breathe
- Help you transition home and perform your normal routines
- Prevent future health issues
A team of specialists comes together to map out your personalized treatment program.
The best respiratory rehabilitation programs often incorporate physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, physiatry, and other pulmonary therapies to help you maximize lung capacity and perform your normal activities with less strain.
You learn new exercises, eating habits, and breathing techniques to help you manage your condition. Your team may also set you up with adaptive equipment and breathing devices and show you how to get the most out of them.
Typically, patients enter inpatient respiratory rehabilitation because of a referral. Your cardiologist or pulmonary specialist may refer you to rehab for one of several reasons.
[Learn more about what these rehabilitation terms mean here]
4 Reasons Why Your Doctor May Recommend Inpatient Respiratory Rehabilitation
Reason 1: Recover from Lung Surgery
If you undergo lung surgery for a condition such as cancer, pulmonary embolism, transplant, or infection, you may face some new challenges during the recovery period. You may feel tired or short of breath more easily, experience chest tightness, and encounter pain.
Your healthcare team develops targeted treatment to help you work through every one of these side effects. Respiratory rehabilitation, in particular, helps you manage your breathing after a major lung event.
Some of the benefits of respiratory rehabilitation after lung surgery include:
- Prevention and intervention for emergencies
- Speedier recovery
- Fewer complications
- Improved lung function
Pulmonary rehabilitation in an inpatient setting is one of the best ways to feel like yourself again.
Reason 2: Manage Restrictive Lung Disease
Restrictive lung diseases like pulmonary fibrosis or sarcoidosis cause breathing difficulties because they prevent the lungs from expanding to full capacity. Respiratory rehabilitation is an effective intervention to help you breathe more efficiently and tackle your daily responsibilities.
Rehabilitation for these lung diseases may involve progressive monitored exercise, energy conservation training, nutrition counseling, and oxygen therapy. These techniques help you manage your condition long-term and reap the most benefits.
Some of the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation for restrictive lung disease include:
- Increased exercise capacity
- Improved lung function
- Fewer breathing difficulties
- Improved mental health
- Fewer healthcare costs
You can tackle a tough lung disease diagnosis with a proactive treatment plan, starting with pulmonary rehab.
Reason 3: Manage Chronic Obstructive Lung Conditions
Obstructive lung conditions like COPD, emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and cystic fibrosis make airflow difficult due to inflamed or obstructed airways. To improve your breathing, you can enroll in pulmonary rehabilitation.
Some of the benefits of inpatient respiratory rehab for obstructive lung disease include:
- Slowed disease progression
- Improved endurance
- Increased functional movement
- Decreased oxygen use
- Reduced chance for re-hospitalization
Although chronic conditions like these are incurable, they can be managed with a long-term rehabilitation protocol. Look into rehabilitation options if you choose to improve your prognosis.
Reason 4: Recover from Severe Pneumonia
If you have a severe case of pneumonia that won’t resolve, causes complications, or leaves you hospitalized, you may benefit from a respiratory rehabilitation program.
The first step toward recovery is to fight the virus or bacterial infection causing pneumonia and helping you manage your breathing. Treatment may include medications, oxygen, IV fluids, and mechanical ventilation in severe cases.
As you recover, you may be able to perform progressive exercises to increase your stamina and rebuild your breathing muscles. Ventilation weaning and tracheostomy care may also be part of your treatment plan.
Some of the benefits of inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation for pneumonia include:
- Enhanced exercise capacity
- Improved pulmonary function and immunity
- Symptom relief
- Reversal of disease progression
- Decreased treatment costs
Pulmonary rehabilitation is an integral part of the recovery process for severe pneumonia, especially after mechanical ventilation.
Your Next Steps
If you fit one of the criteria above, and your doctor gives you an inpatient respiratory rehabilitation referral, your next steps are to:
- Learn as much as you can about your condition and available treatments
- Research covered providers and facilities under your healthcare plan (here’s what to look for)
- Schedule a tour at your top choices
- Choose a facility and start the admission process
For a comprehensive guide about COPD and treatment options, download the Understanding, Treating, and Coping with COPD guide here.
Rehab Select offers a comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program with the most up-to-date, clinically effective treatments. They have a full team of on-site healthcare providers to help you breathe better and enhance your everyday living. If you’d like to tour a facility or gather more information about respiratory rehab at Rehab Select, click here.