Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program

Feeling shortness of breath is a frightening experience. The Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway seeks to slow down and minimize progression of the debilitating symptoms of lung disease by combining exercise with education, breathing retraining and nutritional counseling. Individualized programs can be set up for patients of all ages who suffer from lung disorders, such as COPD, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema or fibrosis and others, as well as lung transplant and lung reduction candidates. Our goal is to promote self-reliance and independence.

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation program seeks to:

  • Reduce shortness of breath and the anxiety it brings
  • Increase exercise tolerance and ability to perform normal daily activities
  • Increase understanding of particular lung disorders
  • Teach the proper use of respiratory medications and breathing techniques
  • Reduce the possibility of hospitalizations

Who should participate in Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

The program is designed for people with pulmonary diseases such as emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis and pulmonary fibrosis, and for those whose shortness of breath compromises their lifestyle. Through breath retraining, regular exercise, proper nutrition and respiratory treatments, you can dramatically improve your breathing ability.

Overview of Services

Each patient's program begins with a comprehensive evaluation by a multidisciplinary team led by a physician specializing in pulmonary medicine, including clinical experts in respiratory therapy, physical therapy, and nutrition. Through a carefully planned, integrated and individualized program of supervised physical conditioning, exercise, and education, physical capacity is increased and the patient is taught to cope with the special problems of lung disorders.

Physical Conditioning

People with pulmonary disease often limit physical activity because they are frightened they will become short of breath, but lack of activity reduces muscle strength and causes further weakness.

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation program includes exercises and activities that help increase physical capacity and regain control of breathing. By combining exercise with other services patients improve their abilities to carry out activities of daily living with more energy and less difficulty. The usual schedule is three sessions per week for eight weeks.


Patients are taught:

  • Pulmonary disease and its management
  • Self-care
  • Efficient use of breathing capacity
  • Energy conservation
  • Additional strategies to avoid breathlessness

Nutrition Counseling

Shortness of breath can hinder the ability to eat a proper diet. The type of foods and especially the amount eaten can contribute to increased shortness of breath. An individual consultation with a registered dietitian assists patients with specific problems attributed to lung disease and promotes good eating habits and better health.

Our pulmonary rehab program takes place at the Nicholas Quadrel Healthy Heart Center, located on the second floor of RWJ Rahway.

Physicians should consider pulmonary rehabilitation for their patients if any of the following are present:

  • Recent exacerbation and hospitalization
  • Increased hospitalizations, ED visits, office visits/calls
  • Oxygen desaturation or diminished PFTs
  • Use of supplemental oxygen
  • Decrease in physical activity
  • Complaints of dyspnea
  • Disease is affecting the quality of life

Contact Information
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program
Phone: (732) 499-6208
Fax: (732) 499-6181

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