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) may benefit from a longer pulmonary rehabilitation program. Supervised maintenance programmes of monthly or less frequently are not sufﬁcient to maintain the gains of pulmonary rehabilitation.
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
- Encourage patients to 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)
- For people who have an exacerbation of COPD which is managed at home and have previously completed a pulmonary rehabilitation program, consider booster sessions (supervised exercise training for a few weeks in pulmonary rehabilitation program).1
- Encourage people to join a local Support Group.