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March 8-14 is Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week ~ Meet the Pulmonary Rehab Team at BGH!

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Bonner General Health’s Pulmonary Rehab Team: Back row left to right: Chad & Lori, front row left to right: Liz & Jenni.

Bonner General Health’s New Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program Improves the Quality of Life for Those with Chronic Lung Diseases

Franci Marks, RN BSN, Nurse Manager ICU, Cardiopulmonary, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, & Marilyn Cupery, Registered Respiratory Therapist and Cardiopulmonary Clinical Supervisor

Respiratory Therapists at Bonner General Health identified a need for a Pulmonary Rehabilitation program in Sandpoint based on the number of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in Sandpoint and surrounding communities. Members of Bonner General Health’s Better Breather’s Club, a monthly educational and support group for people living with chronic lung disease and their caregivers, also expressed a need for the program.

COPD affects more than 15.3 million people in the United States, and while COPD is preventable, it is currently incurable. However, the quality of life of those suffering from COPD can be significantly improved by participating in a Pulmonary Rehabilitation program.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation programs are specifically designed for patients with chronic lung disease, such as COPD, which includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, and chronic asthma. The program we offer at BGH is designed to combine patient-centered exercise training, education, nutritional assessments, and interventions. The goal is to help patients improve their quality of life while reducing symptoms that may limit their tolerance for activity. It also serves to promote and maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors and choices.

A Medical Director oversees the Pulmonary Rehabilitation program. The training and classes are run by a Registered Nurse and an Exercise Physiologist. A referral from a primary care provider is required to start the program. Patients will attend a one-on-one pre-assessment appointment with a Registered Nurse or Exercise Physiologist who will develop an individualized exercise plan specifically for them prior to starting the rehabilitation classes. The patient will attend classes twice a week for approximately eight to ten weeks, depending upon their individual needs.

Valuable education is provided to patients in all aspects of improving quality of life from experts in many different fields. This program is paid for by Medicare for patients who qualify.

“We are very excited to add this new program to the services offered at Bonner General Health. The patients that participate in our Cardiac Rehabilitation program improve their quality of life by managing their conditions with healthier lifestyles, we are looking forward to seeing the same results for the patients who participate in our Pulmonary Rehabilitation program”, said Franci Marks, RN BSN; Nurse Manager ICU, Cardiopulmonary, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Bonner General Health.

The program is located on the first floor of the main hospital building located at 520 N. Third Avenue in Sandpoint on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Bonner General Health’s Better Breathers Club support group is offered at no cost to individuals living with chronic lung disease and their caregivers. An American Lung Association trained facilitator leads the meetings and serves to equip participants with tools to better cope with their diagnosis, and live life to the fullest. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 1:00 pm in the east classroom of the main hospital building located at 520 N. Third Avenue in Sandpoint. For more information, go to BonnerGeneral.org or call 208-265-1045.

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