physical therapist (PT), the program’s medical director and a pulmonologist to create a customized plan that suits your needs.
These professionals will conduct an evaluation of how much exercise you can do, including a COPD six-minute walk test. During the test, you’ll be asked to walk on a flat surface, such as a hospital corridor, while hooked up to a pulse oximeter (a device that tracks your heart rate and the oxygen level in your blood), according to Health Central.
After walking back and forth for about 100 feet, the test will determine how far you can walk at your normal pace in six minutes. The test will be repeated throughout the program to measure your progress and you will be provided supplemental oxygen as you need it and the ability to stop or slow down anytime throughout the test.
You will also undergo tests of balance, lower body strength, and breathing to help professionals determine how strong your breathing muscles are and create a workout plan tailored to your needs.
6. Is Pulmonary Rehab Covered by Insurance?
Many health insurance plans cover pulmonary rehab, but it’s essential to check with your provider to determine your specific coverage and any associated costs.
Private companies may make their own rules, while others may follow Medicare guidelines. Medicare covers up to 36 sessions over a period of up to 36 weeks. You may qualify for an additional 36 sessions if you develop COVID-19 after you complete your program, Dr. Lang notes.
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7. Can I Exercise During Pulmonary Rehab If I’m Out of Shape?
Absolutely! Pulmonary rehab programs are tailored to your fitness level, and healthcare professionals will gradually increase the intensity of exercises as you progress. It’s a safe and effective way to improve your physical condition.
8. What If I Can’t Attend In-Person Sessions?
If attending in-person sessions is challenging due to distance or other factors, some pulmonary rehab programs offer remote or virtual options. Discuss this with your healthcare provider to find a suitable solution.
9. Can I Continue Exercising After Pulmonary Rehab?
Yes! Pulmonary rehab aims to instill a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise. You’ll learn exercises and techniques that you can continue at home or at a local gym to maintain your progress.
“A major goal is that as the program progresses, patients are motivated and educated to continue independent exercise that they can replicate on their own,” says Dr. Lang
10. How Do I Get Started with Pulmonary Rehab?
To begin pulmonary rehab, speak with your primary care physician or pulmonologist. They can refer you to a program that suits your needs. It’s essential to take this step, as pulmonary rehab can significantly improve your COPD management and overall well-being.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a valuable resource for individuals living with COPD. It offers a holistic approach to managing the condition and can greatly enhance your quality of life. If you have COPD or know someone who does, consider exploring pulmonary rehab as a supportive and effective tool in the battle against this chronic lung disease. It’s never too late to take control of your health and breathe easier.