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Pulmonary rehab at SJMH can help recovering COVID patients

WESTON, W.Va. – The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Departments of Weston’s Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital (SJMH) and Kingwood’s Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital (PMH) continue to make a difference in the lives of pulmonary patients especially those recovering from COVID-19.

COVID-19 affects many organs in the patient’s body but the most prominent damage is to the lungs. The type of pneumonia often associated with COVID-19 can cause long-standing damage to the tiny air sacs in the lungs. The resulting scar tissue can lead to long-term breathing problems.

Kristi Gannon, nurse manager at the SJMH Pulmonary Rehabilitation Department explains that even after recovery, COVID patients may have a persistent shortness of breath, a dry cough, or other side effects.  Those who had to be placed on a ventilator may have more severe symptoms. A pulmonary evaluation and rehabilitation can help the patient recover.

She noted, “Our Pulmonary Rehabilitation provides a comprehensive approach to patient care. It includes education about pulmonary diseases, lifestyle changes, incorporation of mild physical activity, and handling the psychological effects of a patient’s condition. All of this is even more important for our COVID patients.”

The pulmonary program can range from eight to twelve weeks. During that time, each patient will undergo one-on-one, supervised exercise therapy to improve respiratory muscle conditioning, breathing retraining and cardiovascular fitness. Exercise will be tailored to the patient’s specific needs and abilities. Types of exercise may include walking, stair climbing, equipment-based aerobic exercise, stretching maneuvers, strength conditioning and respiratory muscle training.

Gannon concluded, “As in any recovery, other healthful strategies will help the patient recover sooner.  Eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, avoid smoking and vaping, and exercising can give the patient a new lease on life.  Pulmonary rehab improves the quality of life for our patients.  Our program is nationally certified.”

About Mon Health System: Mon Health System is an integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient centers and hospitals in North Central West Virginia that works together to make health care more accessible and affordable to the communities it serves. It includes four hospitals – its flagship, Mon Health Medical Center in Morgantown; Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital in Kingwood; Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital in Weston; affiliate, Grafton City Hospital in Grafton; Mon Health Equipment & Supplies in Morgantown, Fairmont, and Weston; and The Village at Heritage Point. Mon Health System is also part of many Joint Ventures such as Healthworks, Acuity Hospital of Morgantown, Monongalia EMS, Amedisys Hospice, Care Partners, Encompass and the Mon Health Center for Outpatient Surgery to preserve choice, improve access and ensure the highest quality of care. For more information, visit monhealth.com.

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