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The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic is designed for those who experience lung problems. The care team works with patients with chronic lung disease to improve their ability to care for themselves.
For people with chronic lung disease it is difficult to breathe even while doing simple tasks.
Patients in the program participate in group exercise classes, and learn skills to control their fatigue and shortness of breath. Many regain some strength and endurance that improves their quality of life.
These patients not only face the battle to breathe freely, but to stay engaged with the world around them. Depression and isolation are some of the psychosocial aspects of lung disease. So, in addition to tackling the physical rehabilitation of patients, this program also helps people re-engage in meaningful activities by improving their lung function and lifting their spirit.
Each holiday season, staff in the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic organize a festive gathering for patients to celebrate together and share their achievements and goals.
Phyllis Rosen and Phyllis Wharton
The story of the two Phyllis' began only two short years ago, but has blossomed into a strong friendship. Phyllis Rosen, who was diagnosed with COPD four years ago, met kindred spirit Phyllis Wharton, who also has COPD. They help motivate each other at rehab and share laughs when they meet in the community. Both have improved their endurance and feel the program has helped combat depression and isolation that often comes with having COPD.
Phyllis and Phyllis say the program has helped them tremendously and that the staff truly love all of the patients that come to the clinic.
"They set the tone for that spirit of motivation and friendliness," Wharton says. "We have a good time and in the process, get better."
Frantz Contant has been a part of the program for almost two years. He has suffered from Sarcoidosis for two decades. The program has helped him a great deal. Not only can he breathe easier, he also has better balance, which means he can participate in his Tai Chi class twice a week.
"The staff here are the best. Everyone loves coming here because they take care of us," he says.
Francine Drubick was born at Toronto Western Hospital – she wasn't expecting that she would be back many years later, but is grateful that she is part of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic to help her with her asthma and severe sleep apnea. Since she began participating in the group exercise, the tread mill and new step she feels she is getting stronger and building stamina.
"Our patient care coordinator, Meeran, cares for everyone and they can feel it," says Drubick. "She makes this fun and motivates everyone."
Januario Alejandro has a vibrant sense of humour and loves to joke around even when it comes to talking about his health. Alejandro has Nonspecific Interstitial Pneumonia (NSIP), a lung disease that causes shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue.
His participation in the rehab program is crucial as it is helping him improve his health so that he can get on the waiting list for a partial lung transplant. When he is not at the rehab clinic, he is walking laps in the neighbourhood to help him reach his goal of not needing his oxygen tank.