Stronger Lungs, Healthier Lives

The Healthy Lives Program helps people with COPD become more active.

Chandler D. Patton, MD
Chandler Patton, MD

Monmouth Medical Center (MMC) created the Healthy Lives Program to help patients cope with two serious, chronic health problems—chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure (CHF).

Since its inception, the program has reduced the hospital readmission rate for these patients dramatically, says Chandler Patton, MD, Medical Director of the Healthy Lives Program and Medical Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care at MMC.

Hospitalized COPD patients are referred to the program when they’re discharged. Since the risk of a recurrence is high in the first month after discharge, patients are monitored closely after they return home.

A respiratory therapist and nurse practitioner are sent to patients’ homes once or twice a week to make sure they’re taking the right medications, says Dr. Patton. Some patients are monitored remotely using the Vivify Health telemedicine platform.

Once a patient is stable, he or she is encouraged to participate in the hospital’s Joel Opatut Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program. Patients perform exercises, such as walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike, while their breathing is monitored.

“Patients are initially hesitant to go to rehab, but once they’re in the program, they enjoy it,” says Dr. Patton. “They feel much better and develop the confidence to start moving again. They also meet other patients and realize they’re not the only ones suffering from COPD.”

The program was recently recertified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACPR).

“This shows that our program is meeting all of the AACPR standards,” says Dr. Patton.

In addition, MMC’s COPD specialists were recently recognized as “high performers” by U.S. News & World Report. The rating is based on the hospital’s nursing staff, the number of patients with specific conditions, the need for readmission after a hospital stay, and patient survival.

COVID-19 Safety Precautions

Rehabilitation staff members have taken steps to ensure patient safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff members are screened for symptoms and wear masks; the exercise equipment is sanitized and spaced six feet apart, and there are restrictions on the number of patients who can use the facility at the same time.

Pulmonary rehab patients may use the facility between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Prior to each one-hour session, they’re screened for COVID-19 symptoms and given temperature checks. They must also wear a mask provided by the hospital.

During their sessions, patients are expected to practice social distancing, wash their hands before and after exercising, and use hand sanitizer while using the equipment. Each machine is cleaned with hospital-approved wipes after it’s used.

To learn more about the Healthy Lives Program at Monmouth Medical Center or to make an appointment, call (732) 923-6702.