The Staff of the Pulmonary Rehab Department at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital (SJMH) in Weston was recently awarded accreditation by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation for the local pulmonary rehab program. The SJMH program is called “Breathe Easy” (One Step at a Time) and is coordinated by Nurse Manager Kristi Gannon. Other staff includes: George Butcher, RN; Peggy Burkhammer; Susan Carpenter; Tiffany Lowther, RN; Cassandra Hinzman; and Marion Bennett. The program was started in 2005 and this is the fourth accreditation it has received.
The Pulmonary Rehabilitation staff works with patients suffering with chronic lung disease. Patients suffer both physically and psychologically with the illness.
The SJMH staff helps those struggling with the disability to return to a more healthy and satisfying lifestyle. The program provides a comprehensive approach to patient care, including education about pulmonary diseases, lifestyle changes, incorporation of mild physical activity, and handling the psychological effects of a patient’s condition.
The program is customized to meet the patient’s needs under the medical direction of Dr. Frank Scattaregia. The ultimate goal of the program is to rehabilitate the patient to his or her maximum potential and reduce the number of life-threatening respiratory occurrences or hospitalizations. Family members are welcome to participate in the treatment program and learn how to support the patient.
During the eight- to twelve-week program, staff takes the time to get to know the patient by completing a medical history, conducting diagnostic testing and a physical evaluation, and by completing an assessment of the patient’s knowledge about their condition, and pulmonary disease in general. An important part of the program includes setting goals for patients. Once goals are set, each patient’s progress is monitored and adjusted as necessary. This ensures that the patient receives the education and training most appropriate for him/her.
Each patient will undergo supervised exercise therapy to improve muscle conditioning and cardiovascular fitness. Exercise will be tailored to the patient’s specific needs and abilities. Types of exercise may include walking, stair climbing, strength conditioning, stretching maneuvers, and respiratory muscle training.
The education component of the program is conducted in small group sessions or on an individual basis. The program coordinators believe that knowledge is a key for developing one’s pulmonary rehabilitation potential. Some of the subjects discussed in education and training sessions include:
- Breathing retraining
- Inhaler (MDI) instruction
- Anatomy of the respiratory system
- Coping with chronic disease
- Medication usage
- Importance of exercise
Once a patient has completed the program, staff help develop a plan for self-management and treatment at home. The patient may experience a number of improvements, including:
- Control and alleviate the symptoms and complications of respiratory impairment
- Achieve optimal capacity to carry out activities of daily living
- Decrease psychological symptoms such as anxiety or depression
- Increase exercise tolerance
- Reduce hospitalizations
If a patient would like more information or to participate in the program, they can call 304-269-8099 or ask their physician.