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Pulmonary rehabilitation

If you are living with symptoms caused by chronic respiratory disease or have decreased function despite standard medical treatment, pulmonary rehabilitation may help.

Once referred to the pulmonary rehabilitation program, you will attend 14 total sessions over six weeks. Your first appointment will include an initial evaluation where you will complete a six-minute walk. The staff will also orient you to the gym and schedule you for your upcoming class.

Throughout the program, an exercise specialist and a respiratory therapist will lead exercise sessions based on your abilities. This may include resistance and flexibility training as well as the use of hand-held weights, upright and recumbent stationary bikes, motorized treadmills and more.

Education sessions may include information on the following topics: breathing retraining, nutrition, stress
management, respiratory medications, dealing with depression, recognizing signs of infection, home exercise programs, energy conservation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and inhaler and aerosol training.

At the conclusion of the program, you will receive a postprogram assessment and your referring physician will be given a report on your results. We look forward to helping you breathe easier!

Referral information

To participate, a physician referral is required.

Contact information

Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Heart & Vascular Center
Salem Health campus, Building B, first floor

Frequently asked questions

What is the phone number for pulmonary rehab?

The phone number to the pulmonary rehab gym is 503-814-1713.

What if I can’t make to a class?

Coming to class is very important for your success in rehab. If you need to miss class we depend on you calling us to cancel the appointment.

Call pulmonary rehab at 503-814-1713 or let staff know if you are not able to make it to a class. We will cancel your appointment for that day(s).

If you miss two classes in a row without calling us to let us know we will follow up with you to see if you want to continue in the program. If we do not hear from you within two weeks we will discharge you from the program. 

How long does the program last?

The pulmonary rehab classes are twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, for six weeks.

How long will I be in class each day?

The exercise time in the gym will be 75 minutes and the education time in the classroom will last 30 to 60 minutes.

When are the education classes?

The education session meets after your exercise session each day. We encourage your family or friends to come to the education with you.

Why do I have to do a six-minute walk test?

We will do a six minute walk with you at your initial appointment to find your baseline tolerance to exercise. During the fifth week of the program we will schedule an exit appointment with you where we will do another walk test to show you your improvement.

How often do you contact my doctor?

We work with you at your first appointment to create a treatment plan and send this to the pulmonary rehab medical director. This is looked over and signed before we see you in the gym. Once you have completed the program we will send a summary report of your progress to your physician. We also can contact your physician as necessary if concerns arise during classes.

What should I do if I have concerns about privacy?

Please report any concerns you might have to the staff. You are in a group setting, but we make every effort to respect your privacy. If you would like to talk to staff in private please let us know.

What do you do in case of emergency and what emergency training do the staff have?

All staff in pulmonary rehab are trained by the American Heart Association in Basic Life Savings skills. All the nurses, the respiratory therapist and most of the exercise specialists are also trained in Acute Cardiac Life Saving. If you have a medical issue at your visit we call the Rapid Response Team and/or Code Team to take you to the emergency room.

Why do I wear the heart monitor (ECG)?

The heart monitor wirelessly transmits your heart rhythm (electrical activity in your heart) and rate to the computer in the gym. The staff is in charge of watching the ECG rhythms and looking for changes. All staff watching the ECG have taken and passed the Adult ECG Monitoring exam. If we see any changes or concerns we will talk to you about it and may report to your doctor. If you have any question about your heart rhythm please ask the staff.

What is RPE?

RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. This is a tool that is used to decide if your exercise effort is at the right level for you. It is a scale based on how you feel with your exercise. The goal is to increase your workload to a level that you can endure for a period of time that you rate 11 to 14 (the green section). If you rate yourself 15 or higher (orange or red section) then you are working too hard.

What is RPD?

RPD stands for Rate of Perceived Dyspnea. This is a tool used to decide if your shortness of breath is at the right level for exercise.

Do you provide oxygen if I need it?

If you need oxygen with activity you should wear your oxygen to class and once you enter the gym we can transfer you to one of our tanks while you are at your appointment each day.

What exercises will I be doing during class?

During the exercise class you will be using both exercise equipment (treadmills and bicycles) and doing some light resistance training with exercise bands and weights. Staff will work with each person to choose the equipment that will work best for you and help you to progress your activity level to reach your goals.

What should I expect after pulmonary rehab?

Once you finish your pulmonary rehab visits, you will have the skills you need to continue a healthy way of life. Even though there will not be a team of experts helping you, it is important that you follow the exercise and diet program to manage your health. If you want some help to stay on track, talk to your pulmonary rehab team. You can continue in the Phase III Maintenance program.