Maintaining the Gains
To maintain the improvements in exercise capacity and quality of life after the completion of a pulmonary rehabilitation program, patients need to continue to exercise. People with severe physical limitations (multiple co morbid conditions and / or frequent hospital admissions) will benefit from a longer pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Options for maintenance exercise programs:
Continue to exercise 3 to 5 days per week by either:
- once a week, supervised exercise program in a health facility, community or hospital outpatient setting plus unsupervised exercise on 2 to 4 other days per week.
- unsupervised home exercise program with regular review (e.g. every 3 to 6 months) at the pulmonary rehabilitation program
- Continue to exercise after pulmonary rehabilitation 3 to 5 days per week
- Encourage weekly involvement in community exercise programs eg. Lungs in Action
- Monthly supervised exercise is not enough
- Regular review and reassessment keeps people on track (e.g. reassessment every 3 to 6 months)
- Booster sessions (supervised exercise training for a few weeks in pulmonary rehabilitation program) for people who are recovering from a hospital admission or exacerbation
- During or immediately after an exacerbation – reduce the intensity of exercise training
- Encourage people to join a local Support Group.