Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center has something new to brag about-its recent certification by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). The hospital received this three-year certification after a thorough evaluation by the AACVPR. This honor makes Mercy one of just three hospitals in the area to be awarded such high recognition.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation is recommended as the standard of care for patients with chronic lung diseases. These diseases and conditions can complicate everyday life because of difficulty breathing, decreased endurance, and increased anxiety. It is an essential component in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. There is growing recognition of its benefit in bronchiectasis, asthma, cystic fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, thoracic cage abnormalities and pulmonary hypertension. It is also provided to the patients before and after lung transplantation and lung volume reduction surgery.

The Best of Care

Patients receive the best of care at Mercy's Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program learning to increase independence, quality of life, and overall strength and breathing ability that improve daily living. Via three weekly sessions for 12 weeks, patients are trained to do aerobic and strength-enhancing exercise as well as breathing and stress alleviating techniques-all under close medical observation. Mercy's multidisciplinary team of experts creates an individualized plan that is designed to meet the needs of the patient. Participants learn and grow from hearing about others' experiences and how they have benefited from the program. In addition, those who need a little extra help or advice on how to become smoke-free are invited to participate in monthly smoking cessation sessions-FREE of charge. Mercy also offers nutrition counseling and emotional support to begin a healthier lifestyle and cope with the anxiety frequently associated with chronic illness.

The Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation

For those who are living with chronic pulmonary disease or preparing for or recovering from lung transplantation and lung volume reduction surgery, the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation are numerous. Pulmonary rehabilitation restores the highest possible level of independent function. It relieves dyspnea (breathing difficulty and fatigue), improves exercise or walking capacity, and provides patients more control on their illness. It is proven to enhance patients' sense of well-being, self-efficacy and quality of life and has been shown to reduce the frequency and duration of hospitalization for COPD exacerbation. There is even some preliminary evidence to suggest that it may improve the survival of patients with COPD. Patients who have completed the rehabilitation program at Mercy Hospital are the foremost advocates of the program.

The Convenience of Mercy

Mercy Hospital, which is conveniently located in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood, offers free parking to all patients and visitors. Mercy also provides free transportation to patients within a geographical set of boundaries. Located on the hospital's 12th floor, the Pulmonary Rehabilitation program offers patients a beautiful and unobstructed view of the Chicago skyline and scenic Lake Michigan shoreline. What's more, Mercy's early hours and on-site locker room makes it easy for rehab patients juggling an already busy schedule.