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New Pulmonary Rehab Program Already Showing Inspiring Results

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017 in Other Adult Services, Rehabilitation, Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento | 0 comments

SACRAMENTO — Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento started a new pulmonary rehabilitation program this year to help patients with pulmonary diseases cope with their symptoms and improve the quality of their lives.

Lois Lehmann, center, learns exercises from the pulmonary rehab program staff, including Angie Smith, left.

The new program shares space in the SMCS Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, located in the Galleria at 2929 K St., Suite 100.

“Our patients with COPD and other types of pulmonary disease can’t breathe well, and because of this they do less and less. They’re not enjoying their lives anymore,” said Jamie Kowalsky, an SMCS respiratory therapist who is the coordinator of the new program. “We have been amazed at how this program has already changed lives. It’s very inspiring.”

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. COPD is increasingly common, affecting millions of Americans, and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Most of the patients are elderly.

The new program holds classes from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays for pulmonary patients. The first portion of the class is education, then the patients learn exercises from SMCS respiratory therapists and exercise physiologists and a graduated exercise program is developed for them.

Respiratory therapist Jamie Kowalsky, right, who is coordinating the new Sutter Medical Center Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, shows patient Kenneth L. Clarke how to use his inhaler.

In a recent class, Kowalsky showed three patients how to use the different inhalers and nebulizers, focusing on the particular devices each patient uses.

“Even if we’re just able to do the education to these patients,” Kowalsky said, “we can help their quality of life. They understand how to control their symptoms and know when to access the care they need.”

The exercise portion, Kowalsky says, is “like the icing on the cake. These patients usually do so little in the way of exercise that this really turns their lives around.”

For more information on the program, call (916) 887-5179.

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017 in Other Adult Services, Rehabilitation, Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento | 0 comments