Pulmonary Rehabilitation

What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is a structured exercise program designed for people living with chronic lung diseases like pulmonary fibrosis (PF). Pulmonary rehabilitation includes exercise training; breathing exercises; anxiety, stress, and depression management; nutritional counseling; education; and more.

pulmonary-fibrosis-patient-riding-a bike-to-stay-healthy

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Benefits

People with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and other types of PF can experience increasing shortness of breath and cough. These symptoms may lead to a progressive decline in physical activities and social isolation, and worsening breathlessness, fatigue, and mood disorders including depression and anxiety. Pulmonary rehabilitation has been found to improve physical function, breathlessness (dyspnea), mood, and quality of life in people with IPF and other types of PF. 

In-Person Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Most pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) in the US is provided in hospital outpatient departments. In-person, center-based PR is at this time considered the most effective and safest model of PR in the US. You can find a pulmonary rehabilitation program here.

AACVPR Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program Directory


Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Some people aren’t able to attend an in-person pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program because of distance or cost. A small number of programs offer virtual or video-based PR. Virtual PR is a relatively new option in the US and is not usually paid for by Medicare for people with IPF and PF. The American Association of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Care (AACVPR) and the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) have developed free, virtual pulmonary rehabilitation resources . Virtual PR is not appropriate for everyone and is not equivalent to center-based PR. If you are able to safely access an in-person program, you should discuss this option with your healthcare provider, but virtual programs may offer options for appropriate participants. You should speak with your healthcare provider before starting a virtual PR program to make sure that it is appropriate for you.

View Pulmonary Rehab Toolkit