Veterans receiving care for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the Southeast Louisiana Health Care System now participate in pulmonary rehabilitation consults from the comfort of their homes. When the coronavirus pandemic restricted in-person services one year ago, pulmonary rehabilitation coordinators Mary Labiche and Zina White pioneered virtual pulmonary rehabilitation using VA Video Connect.
Pulmonary rehabilitation helps patients who are suffering with persistent symptoms, like breathlessness or loss of stamina. Respiratory therapists guide patients through stretches and exercises to increase muscle strength and lung capacity.
Army Veteran Harvey Malone, who was among the first participants to graduate from the virtual version of pulmonary rehabilitation, said, “We established a bond. We were a very close-knit team. I looked forward to Tuesday and Thursday mornings during the program.”