Q. : How long should a pulmonary rehabilitation program last?

R. : A pulmonary rehabilitation program should last at least six weeks. However, in the case of an intrahospital program, a shorter period is possible. A maintenance program done at home or in a health centre is indispensable at the end of the structured program.

Q. : How much money is necessary to launch a pulmonary rehabilitation program?

R. : It is very difficult to recommend a start-up budget. A lot depends upon the scope of the program that one wishes to establish. However, it's worthwhile knowing that a program can be set up with a very small team: one practitioner and one patient will do. If needed, one can call upon the members of an interdisciplinary team. And, in terms of equipment, it's possible to achieve the key goals with very limited resources: a hallway to walk in, a gym mat, free weights, etc.

Q. : What are the signs and symptoms that indicate that one should temporarily stop doing physical exercise?

R. : It's important to be attentive to the following signs and symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Severe joint pain
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Palpitations
  • Significant and extended respiratory difficulties
  • Headaches

Q. : Who are the patients that should be excluded from a pulmonary rehabilitation program?

R. : Patients with the following problems should be excluded from a pulmonary rehabilitation program:

  • Severe cognitive problems
  • A severe psychotic disorder
  • A high-risk infectious disease

It should however be noted that patients with a neurological or musculoskeletal disorder, as well as those with an unstable cardiovascular disease (e.g.: angina) should be excluded from the exercise component of the program (temporarily, until their medical condition stabilized), but should nonetheless have access to the self-management component.

Q. : How often should a patient do their exercises for the program to be effective?

R. : For a patient to enjoy the physiological benefits, they would take part in a minimum of 20 sessions, at the rate of twice or three times per week.