COPD

Pulmonary rehab programs don’t need to be fancy to be effective


It’s the skill of the staff and not having the latest gym equipment that makes a difference when it comes to reaping clinical benefits from pulmonary rehabilitation programs, new research shows.

A UK study that compared supervised PR programs using minimal and specialist equipment found that both groups produced similar benefits in exercise quality and health-related quality of life.

Completion rates were lower in the group of patients in the minimal equipment group (64% vs 73%; p=0.014), a finding that the research team, led by respiratory physiologist Suhani Patel from the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, London, speculated was due to subtle baseline differences in demographics between the groups.

The findings give reassurance that rehabilitation programs, when supervised by skilled therapists, provide the same benefits as ‘gold-standard’ programs that have access to specialist equipment, the researchers concluded.

“Limited access to specialist and more expensive exercise equipment need not be a barrier to developing clinically effective PR programmes and increasing accessibility to a wider group of patients,” they concluded in their paper published in Thorax.

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