Can Pulmonary Rehab help patients recover from COVID-19?
Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) is an effective and evidence-based treatment for patients with numerous pulmonary diseases. PR is defined as “a comprehensive intervention based on a thorough patient assessment followed by patient tailored therapies that include, but are not limited to, exercise training, education, and behavior change, designed to improve the physical and psychological condition of people with chronic respiratory disease and to promote the long-term adherence to health-enhancing behaviors.”
Pulmonary rehabilitation reduces the symptoms of participants, and improves their exercise tolerance and health-related quality of life.
There is compelling (although still early) evidence that PR should be used for patients recovering from COVID-19. Dr. Wang and her associates write
“Pulmonary rehabilitation during the acute management of COVID-19 should be considered when possible and safe and may include nutrition, airway, posture, clearance technique, oxygen supplementation, breathing exercises, stretching, manual therapy, and physical activity. Given the possibility of long-term disability, outpatient post-hospitalization pulmonary rehabilitation may be considered in all patients hospitalized with COVID-19.”
The researchers go on to say that
“The fundamentals tools and interventions of Pulmonary Rehabilitation are extremely important traditional interventions that have an extremely important new role and application in the treatment of COVID-19.”