Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program

The departments of Cardiovascular Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Rehabilitation Medicine, and Respiratory Care work together to provide comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation care.

Pulmonary rehabilitation consists of an individualized exercise program and educational classes for individuals with respiratory disorders, such as COPD, asthma, interstitial lung disease, and pulmonary fibrosis.

The goals of pulmonary rehabilitation are to:

  • Decrease and manage respiratory symptoms
  • Increase the ability to do everyday activities
  • Identify and modify respiratory risk factors
  • Promote and improve cardiopulmonary fitness

Participating services include:

  • Care management
  • Exercise specialist
  • Respiratory care
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Occupational rehabilitation
  • Pulmonary medicine

People who have completed this program have been extremely positive about their experience and the improvements they have made.

Program facts

  • Duration: Three sessions per week for 8 weeks, depending on individual needs
  • Class size: 10 to 12 individuals per class
  • Schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm
  • Location: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Cardiac Rehab gym, Level 4A
  • Insurance coverage: This program is covered by most third-party payers, including Medicare.

Referral criteria

To qualify for the pulmonary rehabilitation program, patients must:

  • Have a chronic, stable respiratory system that is under optimal medical management. Chronic lung diseases include COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, pulmonary fibrosis, and some types of neuromuscular diseases.
  • Have had pulmonary function tests (PFTs) that reveal forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), or diffusing capacity (DLCO) less than 65% of predicted normal within one year of initiating pulmonary rehabilitation services. Patients may still qualify even though PFT requirements are not met if their symptoms due to pulmonary disease are disabling and significantly impair the patient's level of functioning.
  • Have symptoms such as breathlessness or fatigue that produce significant disability or handicap. Disability may include significant limitation of social activities, leisure, employment, and activities of daily living or loss of personal independence.
  • Be motivated and willing to participate in pulmonary rehabilitation

Please speak with your doctor if you think you might be a candidate for this program.

To learn more about the program, contact the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Learn about our Cardiac Rehabilitation Program