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  • Jun 08, 2017

New Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at CHA Everett Hospital

Alex White, MD, CHA’s Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, greets a patient at the new Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), an academic community health system serving Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north region, opened a new outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation service on May 30 at CHA Everett Hospital. This service helps patients with chronic lung conditions, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), breathe easier.

COPD is an inflammatory lung disease that obstructs airflow in the lungs. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, coughing and wheezing. It's caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, often from cigarette smoke.

Alex White, MD, CHA’s Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, notes that “people with chronic lung conditions like COPD often struggle to breathe despite taking the right medications. As a result, they have reduced quality of life and many have trouble doing simple tasks like walking, dressing, bathing and shopping.”

The new service is staffed by respiratory therapists, exercise physiologists and pulmonary medicine physicians. With more than 2,200 square feet, it includes an exercise room with treadmills, stationary cycles and other equipment. It also has a learning space for group activities.

Patients who join the program come to CHA Everett Hospital two afternoons a week for 12 weeks. Activities promote more effective breathing, including training on medication use, breathing techniques and oxygen use. The program also incorporates exercise, yoga, relaxation and mindfulness.

"Much of our work is done in a group setting," explains Shamima Mather, RRT. "This lets people with chronic lung conditions support others with similar problems. Our overall goal is to help people get back to doing things that are important to them, like spending time with family and friends, traveling, and being more active."

"We have seen Pulmonary Rehabilitation benefit patients,” says Dr. White, “by building confidence in their abilities, reduce their anxiety about exercise and teach them how to manage their health." For more information about the Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at CHA Everett Hospital, visit the pulmonary rehabilitation web page or call 617-394-7604.

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