Pulmonary Rehab Program for COVID-19 Long Haulers

North Memorial Better Health Blog Author Logo
August 3, 2021

Doctor using stethoscope listening to senior patient breathing at her house - using face maskEarlier in 2021, the North Memorial Health Pulmonary Rehabilitation team introduced a new program for COVID-19 long haulers. The program helps the COVID-19 long haulers build strength and endurance while learning new techniques to reduce shortness of breath.

In addition, patients gain:

  • New breathing and relaxation exercises
  • Education on the proper use of respiratory medications
  • Information and recommendations for oxygen equipment
  • Ways to conserve energy
  • Community resources including support groups

Our Pulmonary Rehabilitation team works with each patient on a one-on-one basis to create a program for their specific needs. Every 8-week program includes an individualized exercise and education plan that includes:

  • Customized exercise plans
  • Inspiratory muscle training
  • Breath retraining
  • Education around emotional support and self-management skills to reduce further possible hospitalization.

Inclusion criteria:

  • Patient with a diagnosis of COVID-19 experiencing persistent respiratory symptoms.
  • Must be 20+ days from positive test, symptoms improved since onset and fever free for 24 hours without use of medications.

Exclusion criteria:

  • Active COVID-19 infection.
  • Currently hospitalized in an inpatient rehab unit or in a transitional care unit.
  • Comorbidities including active cancer, complex neurological, renal or cardiac problems.
  • Severe frailty, palliative or end of life needs.
  • Acute DVT or PE present.

Refer patients to the COVID-19 Pulmonary Rehab program:

  1. Use Epic to place your referral. Search for Pulmonary Rehab. Select Pulmonary Rehab Outpatient Resp Services—Non COPD.
  2. Call us at 763-581-4297 to request paper referral forms.

Please note: Patient must have a Pulmonary Function Test prior to starting. Search Epic Orders for Pulmonary Function Test or PFT.