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Hospital expands pulmonary rehabilitation program

Introduction of Phase 3 allows for people to continue with program

Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 11:24 a.m. CDT
(Photo courtesy of Morris Hospital)
Virginia Landers, respiratory therapist, works with clients enrolled in Morris Hospital’s pulmonary rehabilitation program. The program was recently expanded to include an ongoing maintenance phase for individuals with chronic breathing problems.

Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers has expanded its Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program to include a Phase 3 component for individuals who want to continue exercising after the initial 12-week session.

“This is very exciting because it demonstrates our Pulmonary Rehabilitation program is producing positive results,” says Mark Decker, manager of Cardiovascular Services at Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers. “Most of all, we are providing a much needed service for our community by helping people with chronic breathing problems improve their well-being and overall quality of life.”

Morris Hospital launched its Pulmonary Rehabilitation Pro-gram in the spring of 2012 and initially offered a Phase 2 component only. According to Decker, Phase 3 is referred to as the maintenance phase because it is ongoing and an excellent way to maintain the health benefits and improved quality of life achieved through Phase 2. Morris Hospital uses the same concept for its Cardiac Rehabilitation program, which also has a 12-week Phase 2 program, as well as an ongoing Phase 3 component.

“Essentially, our Phase 3 program gives people with chronic breathing problems an opportunity to continue exercising and receiving education in our structured environment under the direct supervision of a respiratory therapist and registered nurse,” says Decker. “Exercise is something you have to keep doing in order to continue to experience the benefits. That’s true for everyone, including people with chronic breathing problems.”

Most of the Pulmonary Rehab participants have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, bronchiectasis, other types of lung disease, or they are recovering from lung surgery. People with these conditions are typically short of breath with most activities, more likely to experience respiratory infections, and admitted to the hospital more often. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, participation in Pulmonary Rehabilitation can reduce readmissions to the hospital by 50 percent.

“We have seen outstanding outcomes through our program,” says Decker. “One way we evaluate patients’ progress is by measuring the distance they can walk in 6 minutes. By the end of Phase 2, many of them are doubling the distance they were able to walk when they started our program. Plus, they’re able to complete basic household chores that they couldn’t do before because of the difficulty they had breathing.”

Like Phase 2, the Phase 3 program is tailored to each participant’s individual needs and involves the use of a treadmill, recumbent stepper, arm argometer, stationary bike, and weights. The exercises are designed to improve endurance and muscle strength so participants can improve mobility and better carry out daily activities.

Phase 3 participants exercise on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Diagnostic & Rehabilitative Center of Morris Hospital located at 100 W. Gore Road in Morris. The gym is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Working in conjunction with Dr. Ahmad Agha, Pulmonologist, who serves as Medical Director of Morris Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation program, a respiratory therapist and registered nurse establish an individual care plan for each participant and provide progress reports to the referring physician.

A physician’s referral and yearly health assessment is required for participation in Phase 3 Pulmonary Rehabilitation. For more information, call Morris Hospital at 815-705-7837.

Serving patients in 18 communities, Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers includes the 89-bed Morris Hospital, as well as the Braidwood, Channahon, Dwight, Gardner, Marseilles, Minooka, Morris and Newark Healthcare Centers. Through the services of over 1,600 healthcare professionals, physicians and volunteers, Morris Hospital provides lifesaving cardiac intervention with angioplasty and stents, a radiation therapy center for cancer patients, a state-of-the-art intensive care unit, a dedicated pediatric unit, and immediate care services at two locations.  Morris Hospital is a Level II trauma center and a Level II perinatal care provider with an intermediate care nursery.              

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