It’s hardly possible to say enough about the beneficial effects of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) for patients with chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD. Symptoms of the disease are reduced, physiological improvements take place, patients simply feel better both physically and mentally, and the need for drugs and other therapies can be reduced. Yet around the world, PR is not used as often as it might be.

Why? Answers include insufficient funding; lack of resources; limited options for reimbursement; and lack of awareness and knowledge on the part of patients, medical care providers, and insurers alike.

In an effort to improve awareness and delivery of PR for chronic respiratory disease patients, members of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Pulmonary Rehabilitation Assembly and the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Rehabilitation and Chronic Care Group created a task force to develop a policy statement on PR. The resulting document was subjected to several cycles of expert peer review and revisions, and ultimately was formally approved by the Board of Directors of the ATS and the Science Council and Executive Committee of the ERS.

The final policy statement makes recommendations for improving awareness and knowledge of PR among all players in the treatment of chronic respiratory disease – medical care professionals, patients, and insurers alike. It further seeks to ensure the quality of PR programs and encourage research that will result in updated funding and reimbursement policies regarding PR.

Information for this article was obtained from the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation – A Policy Statement of the American Thoracic Society
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