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What is the Program About?


Pulmonary rehabilitation definition:

The structure and delivery of programs are diverse and dependent upon available resources, but the aims remain the same.

The Australian and New Zealand Pulmonary Rehabilitation Guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations for the practice of pulmonary rehabilitation specific to Australian and New Zealand healthcare contexts. To access full guidelines or summarised version, visit: http://lungfoundation.com.au/health-professionals/guidelines/the-australia-and-new-zealand-pulmonary-rehabilitation-guidelines

A number of other pulmonary rehabilitation guidelines have been published such as the British Thoracic Society2 and Canadian Thoracic Society Guidelines.3

There have been two Cochrane Reviews evaluating pulmonary rehabilitation in terms of the effect of on quality of life and exercise capacity4 and the effect of on hospital readmissions after an exacerbation.5

However, this toolkit provides health professionals with practical, evidence-based guidance for establishing a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

The primary components of a comprehensive program are:

  1. Patient assessment.
  2. Patient exercise training.
  3. Patient education.
  4. Patient reassessment.
  5. Maintenance


Incorporating these components in a self-management framework encourages ongoing adherence and can improve psychosocial well-being and independence.

Pulmonary rehabilitation should be part of the care continuum for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  An increase in the number of pulmonary rehabilitation programs around Australia is needed due to the high prevalence of COPD and the associated increasing healthcare costs.



The primary aims of pulmonary rehabilitation in people with chronic lung disease are:

  • To reduce the symptoms and activity limitation and to optimise their functional status

The goals of pulmonary rehabilitation are to:

  • Increase exercise capacity in order to reduce activity limitations and increase participation in everyday activities
  • Reduce the symptoms of dyspnoea and fatigue
  • Improve quality of life.
  • Improve mood and motivation.
  • Improve adherence to recommended treatments.
  • Enhance participation in therapy decisions by building self-management capacity.
  • Reduce health care burden for patients, families and communities, including reduction in hospitalisations
  • Improve survival.