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A Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program at HDF for Post COVID-19 Patients

Doctors recently noted that around 20% of COVID-19 patients, especially those who were once hospitalized, are experiencing difficulties in regaining their strength and energy and resuming their normal life even after recovery. Following a COVID-19 infection, patients are reporting long-term effects and complications that may last for weeks or even months, such as breathing difficulties, fatigue, heart rate issues…

Based on these medical reports, and to complement the measures taken to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hôtel-Dieu de France (HDF) hospital, along with the Department of Pulmonology and Critical Care, has opened the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Unit, whose aim is to provide assistance to post COVID-19 patients and those with chronic heart and respiratory disease, in order to improve their physical and mental health.

This Unit adopts a multidisciplinary approach, offers an individualized rehabilitation program tailored to the needs of each patient, and it is equipped with the latest cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and assessment techniques. The team is composed of specialized pulmonologists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, dieticians, a psychologist and a social worker.

The program offers 3 to 5 rehabilitation sessions per week for approximately one hour and follows a specific treatment plan divided into three phases. It is also worth noting that the treatment is not about prescribing medications, but is achieved through a training and exercise program performed with specialized equipment.

In the first phase, the patient must consult the pulmonologist for a cardiopulmonary and muscular assessment and for deciding on the treatment plan that should be adopted accordingly. In the second phase, the patient can begin the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation sessions that focus on improving their breathing, flexibility, cardiorespiratory endurance and ability to exert effort, through machine exercises, but under medical supervision that includes heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and all vital signs that can detect medical problems if the exercise is not performed as indicated. Given that the body is still affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 infection, the patient is unable to exercise in a normal way. Therefore, the team follows a gradual progressive rehabilitation program and the patient starts feeling better and reenergized as of the third week.

In addition, the patient benefits from educational and counseling sessions with a specialist in smoking cessation, if they are a smoker, a nutritionist or a psychologist. Finally, the third phase marks the end of the program, whereby the pulmonologist assesses and evaluates the patient’s progress. The patient will then be able to return to their normal life, along with the needed recommendations to maintain a good quality of life. Thus, thanks to the rehabilitation program, the patient has recovered from COVID-19 long-lasting consequences and returned to a normal life much sooner.

For more information and appointments, you can call the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Unit at 01-604000 ext. 8382 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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