The goals of pulmonary rehabilitation are to reduce symptoms, improve quality of life and increase participation in everyday activities. These benefits can be achieved regardless of the stage or severity of COPD.
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs differ in where they are located, such as hospital-based, office-based or free-standing; how they are organized and how long they last. For most patients, six weeks is considered the minimum effective program duration.
Although other content may be included, all programs provide exercise training, nutritional counseling and education.
All patients with COPD can potentially benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation, and an effective program can tailor its content to the physical limitations and capabilities of the participant. The only contraindications are inability to understand or cooperate and unwillingness to participate.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is not aimed at improving lung function, but seeks to increase exercise capacity, improve the overall quality of life, particularly as it relates to the symptoms of COPD, and increase participation in social functions and activities of daily living.