Frequently Asked Questions

8. If my doctor sends me for pulmonary rehabilitation, what type of people will I be working with and what do they do?

The pulmonary rehabilitation team is a group of health care professionals who work together with the patient and his/her own doctor to develop and monitor rehabilitation programs for patients with chronic lung diseases. Each member brings to the team expertise from his or her own area of specialty.

Each team may have a different makeup and combination of staff depending on what is needed and who is available. Teams can include a doctor, a nurse, a respiratory therapist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, an exercise therapist, a sociologist, a social worker, and a dietitian.

  • A doctor with a special interest in working with patients with lung problems usually leads the team.
  • A nurse with special training in lung problems can help evaluate patients, develop the treatment plan, and make sure the program works for the patient and that the goals of the program are being met.
  • A respiratory therapist may help teach breathing techniques and proper use of equipment such as nebulizers and oxygen.
  • A physical therapist may help with physical training to improve strength, flexibility, and ability to exercise.
  • An occupational therapist can teach easier ways of doing everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, running errands, and doing chores.
  • An exercise therapist is someone with special training to help people with their physical activity and exercise.
  • A psychologist, social worker, or other therapist may help with the emotional adjustments to living with chronic lung disease.
  • A dietitian can work with persons with chronic lung diseases to make sure they are getting enough nutrition in their diets.