SVMC Expands Program for Patients with Chronic Lung Disease

January 26, 2016

BENNINGTON, VT—January 26, 2016—Due to positive results for patients, the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) has added an afternoon class. The program started in January 2015 with seven participants. Since then the program has completed five sessions and has helped twenty seven patients improve their lung function and breathe easier. The upcoming session, which will accommodate up to 16 patients during either morning or afternoon classes, begins February 9.

"Many people feel a sense of panic when they can't catch their breath, so they exercise less and, as a result, their condition worsens," said Caitlyn Boyd, DPT. "This program gives people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other lung conditions the tools and confidence they need to manage their symptoms and live full and active lives. Anyone living with a chronic lung disease can benefit."

SVMC Pulmonary Rehabilitation combines education with guided physical exercise twice per week for 8 weeks. Boyd helps participants track their progress by measuring blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, and shortness of breath. Some participants continue physical exercise at home or at a fitness facility. Several use the program's ongoing maintenance component, which allows them to continue exercising with a group twice a week.

"Most patients see a real difference in their daily lives. Plus they get the satisfaction of tracking their improvement from beginning to end," Boyd said.

Jane Montgomery, of Shaftsbury, was a member of the first class of patients and continues to work out with the group in the maintenance program.

"I had a lot of fear in me when they diagnosed me with COPD. I would panic when I couldn't catch my breath," Montgomery said. "Since joining the program, my doctors say I have improved tremendously. I have come a long way."

Participants can choose to join a morning or an afternoon session, as space permits. Both morning and afternoon sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays for eight weeks. After completion, the maintenance program is offered on Wednesday and Friday afternoons for a small fee.

Those interested in participating in the upcoming sessions should call Boyd at (802) 447-5140 or Michael Algus, MD, of SVMC Pulmonology at (802) 442-4855 for more information, or contact their primary care provider for a referral.