New guideline published on pulmonary rehabilitation

The new guideline will help professionals, patients and the public understand what to expect from pulmonary rehabilitation.

A new guideline on pulmonary rehabilitation has been published this week, helping professionals, patients and the public understand what to expect from a pulmonary rehabilitation programme.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a short course of regular exercises, which aims to reduce the impact that a lung condition has on a person’s quality of life by reducing the severity of symptoms and increasing the person’s ability to participate in everyday activities.

The new statement, written by the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and the American Thoracic Society, supports the use of pulmonary rehabilitation as an essential part of the care offered to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other long-term lung conditions.

For the first time, the European Lung Foundation (ELF) has produced a patient version of this official ERS guideline. This document can be freely downloaded to help increase public understanding and awareness of pulmonary rehabilitation and what to expect from the programme.

Dr Martijn Spruit, one of the lead authors for the consensus statement, said: “We now have a greater understanding of the complex processes of COPD and other chronic lung diseases, and pulmonary rehabilitation is now recognised as a core component of the care and management of people with these conditions.

“The new consensus statement explains the core concepts of pulmonary rehabilitation, how it should be delivered and why it is effective. We are delighted to have worked with ELF to produce a patient version of the guideline, which will help us explain the programme to patients and encourage them to complete the programme.”

The new statement is published a week after new research in the journal Respirology revealed that pulmonary rehabilitation is infrequently used by people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

The researchers found that 57% of patients they surveyed had been referred for pulmonary rehabilitation and only 18% had completed at least half of the prescribed sessions.

Access the full version and the patient version of the guideline from the ERS e-learning site

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