SVMC Pulmonary Rehabilitation Opens Fall Session

September 06, 2016

BENNINGTON, VT—September 6, 2016—The Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) is now accepting patients for their fall sessions. People who have trouble breathing in the heat and humidity, who get short of breath walking long distances or upstairs, and who are struggling to quit from cigarettes are encouraged to seek a referral.

SVMC Pulmonary Rehabilitation started in January 2015 with seven participants. Since then the program has completed nine sessions and has helped forty three patients improve their lung function and breathe easier. The success of the program prompted an expansion to morning and afternoon classes this past January, accommodating up to sixteen patients at a time.

"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."

The program combines comprehensive education with supervised physical exercise twice per week for eight 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.

Over the last year and a half, 70 percent of patients who completed SVMC’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation had a significant improvement in shortness of breath symptoms, 74 percent had significant improvement in their quality of life, and 60 percent had significant improvement in their functional ability.

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.

To read a patient story, click here. 

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.

About SVHC:

Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC’s providers are members of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians, a multispecialty medical group operated in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock. SVHC includes the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, a 150-bed long- and short-term care skilled nursing facility; the SVHC Foundation; and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), a 99-bed community hospital. SVMC also includes 19 primary and specialty care practices and primary care offices in Bennington, Manchester, Pownal, West Dover, and Wilmington, VT. The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is one of 31 in the world to have been recognized four consecutive times as Magnet Center for Nursing Excellence. To learn more, visit