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Pulmonary rehabilitation

Respiratory therapy for people with breathing difficulties

If you have difficulty breathing due to a condition such as asthma or COPD can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation.

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What it is

People who have difficulty breathing due to a condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation (respiratory therapy). Allina Health has programs that will help patients of all ages breathe easy.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a service designed for those who experience lung problems such as

  • asthma
  • bronchiectasis
  • chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • emphysema
  • interstitial lung disease
  • lung cancer and lung cancer surgery
  • lung volume reduction surgery before and after lung transplant
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • sarcoidosis

Full-service respiratory testing

Respiratory tests include:

  • Spirometry: This test shows how well your lungs are working by measuring air speed and air volume when you breathe in and out.
  • Spirometry before-and-after bronchodilator: A bronchodilator is a type of medicine used to open the airways and is usually given through an inhaler. Your breath is measured before and after breathing in the medicine. This test will help your doctor find out if you have a breathing problem. It will also indicate if you need medicine to improve your breathing.
  • DLCO (diffusing capacity): This test measures how oxygen moves from your lungs to the blood system. It is used to see how certain diseases, chemotherapy, toxic chemicals or certain medicines affect your lungs.
  • Lung volume measurement: During this test, respiratory therapists measure your total lung capacity to determine any factors that may limit airflow.

What to expect

You will learn how to improve your stamina and endurance for a more active life. Program content includes support, education and exercise in every session.

Educational topics include:

  • medications, including drug interaction, using an inhaler and self-care techniques
  • understanding and using oxygen therapy
  • diet, nutrition and weight management
  • breathing retraining and strategies for managing breathing problems
  • importance of exercise
  • strategies for managing breathing problems
  • symptom assessment and knowledge about when to seek medical treatment
  • community resources
  • stress management

Benefits include:

  • develop a self-management strategy
  • promote behavioral change in everyday life
  • decrease symptoms of disease
  • promote ability to function better in daily life
  • help increase ability to exercise
  • provide tools to better manage anxiety and depression
  • promote smoking cessation and good nutrition
  • help prevent hospital readmissions

Good to know

A physician referral is required. Depending on your diagnosis, you may also need to have a pulmonary function test. We encourage you to ask for these details when you call to register. There may be out-of-pocket costs for the program sessions. Please call your insurance company and ask if outpatient respiratory therapy/pulmonary rehabilitation is covered by your policy.

Respiratory therapists are a key part of our health care team, working together with other medical professionals with one goal in mind: to help patients gain control of their conditions and successfully resume daily activities.

In addition to providing inpatient therapy, staff members also perform diagnostic services and outpatient testing, as well as offer hands-on education to help patients use their inhalers and manage medications for optimum results.

Source: Allina Health pulmonology services
Reviewed by: Allina Health pulmonology services

First published: 10/14/2019
Last reviewed: 10/14/2019

Allina Health Everyday Clinic

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What’s the reason for your visit?

Only these primary care appointments can be scheduled online. For all other appointments or with any questions, call 1-888-425-5462.