Pulmonary Rehab can help recovering COVID patients


WESTON — The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Departments of Weston’s Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital (SJMH) and Kingwood’s Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital (PMH) continue to make a difference in the lives of pulmonary patients especially those recovering from COVID-19.

COVID-19 affects many organs in the patient’s body but the most prominent damage is to the lungs. The type of pneumonia often associated with COVID-19 can cause long-standing damage to the tiny air sacs in the lungs. The resulting scar tissue can lead to long-term breathing problems.

Kristi Gannon, nurse manager at the SJMH Pulmonary Rehabilitation Department explains that even after recovery, COVID patients may have a persistent shortness of breath, a dry cough, or other side effects. Those who had to be placed on a ventilator may have more severe symptoms. A pulmonary evaluation and rehabilitation can help the patient recover.

She noted, “Our Pulmonary Rehabilitation provides a comprehensive approach to patient care. It includes education about pulmonary diseases, lifestyle changes, incorporation of mild physical activity, and handling the psychological effects of a patient’s condition. All of this is even more important for our COVID patients.”

The pulmonary program can range from eight to twelve weeks. During that time, each patient will undergo one-on-one, supervised exercise therapy to improve respiratory muscle conditioning, breathing retraining and cardiovascular fitness. Exercise will be tailored to the patient’s specific needs and abilities. Types of exercise may include walking, stair climbing, equipment-based aerobic exercise, stretching maneuvers, strength conditioning and respiratory muscle training.

Gannon concluded, “As in any recovery, other healthful strategies will help the patient recover sooner. Eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, avoid smoking and vaping, and exercising can give the patient a new lease on life.  Pulmonary rehab improves the quality of life for our patients. Our program is nationally certified.”

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