Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation


Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Gaylord Hospital

Our Approach to Care

Gaylord’s Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation is designed to help you develop new strategies for monitoring and controlling your symptoms. You will be evaluated by a pulmonologist and a respiratory therapist who will help you develop the knowledge and skills you will need to increase your strength and endurance. You’ll also reduce the number of times you experience shortness of breath and require hospitalization. If you have been diagnosed with emphysema, chronic asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, or some other pulmonary disease, our individualized approach to treatment can help you successfully return to work, pace your daily activities, and lead a more active life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a candidate for Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

Often, our patients enter the Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation program following a hospital stay, because they need additional care and treatment. Many others, however, enroll at the suggestion of their doctor, because they are experiencing difficulties with strength, endurance, or breathing techniques as the result of a pulmonary illness or injury.

What services are included in the program?

We use a comprehensive and individualized approach to helping our patients build their pulmonary strength. Depending on your particular needs, our services may include:

  • Oxygen management 
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation and education
  • Exercise Progression 
  • Pulmonary function testing
  • Exercise tolerance studies

What are the techniques I can use to improve my breathing?

Pursed-lip Breathing helps open up airways and slow breathing. This technique helps open up airways and slow breathing. It also helps air trapped in the lungs escapes, letting in fresh air. Follow these steps:

  • Breathe in slowly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed. Hold your breath for about 3 seconds. (It’s not necessary to take a big breath; a normal breath is fine.)
  • Purse your lips as if you were going to whistle.
  • Breathe out slowly through your pursed lips for about 6 seconds. You should make a soft whistling sound while you breathe out. In general, breathing out should take 2-3 times longer than breathing in
  • As you breathe think about smelling the roses (gentle, long inhale) and blowing out the candles (gentle, steady exhale).
  • DO NOT breathe forcefully. Take relaxed, but full breaths.
  • Always exhale twice as long as you inhale.
  • Always exhale during exertion, or the most difficult part of an activity.
  • NEVER hold your breath.

Diaphragmatic Breathing increases the movement of the diaphragm, so you can get more air in and out of your lungs. To learn how to do this more complex technique contact your healthcare provider or a Gaylord Respiratory Therapist at (203) 741-3351. 

I am often anxious about my breathing, how can I control my stress?

Anxiety is a common side effect of many pulmonary disorders and can affect your breathing. Developing strategies that help distract you from anxiety or pain, while you relax your mind and body, is the best place to start. Many people find these techniques helpful in controlling stress.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  • This involves tensing and relaxing muscle groups one at a time. Begin with your facial muscles. Frown hard for several seconds, and then relax. You should feel a difference between tensed and relaxed muscles. Move on to other muscle groups – such as your shoulders, arms, chest and legs – until you’ve tensed and relaxed your entire body.


  • Give yourself a “vacation” by closing your eyes and imagining a relaxing scene, such as a sandy beach. Picture yourself there. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? Focus on the scene for about 15 minutes.


  • Close your eyes, breathe deeply into your abdomen and think about a calming thought, word or object. If you have trouble staying focused, try repeating a word or sound over and over. (Some people find it helpful to play soft music while meditating.)

What techniques can I use to prevent fatigue and breathlessness?

Our Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program will help you develop techniques to minimize your fatigue and episodes of breathlessness. For example …

  • Plan your day. Do the most important activities while you have the most energy. Don’t do high-energy activities back-to-back.  
  • Sit while performing tasks, such as washing dishes, bathing, brushing your teeth, etc. 
  • Gather your clothes together before you get dressed. Sit down while dressing and use a long-handled shoehorn to put on your shoes.
  • Put everything you need in one spot before starting an activity. You won’t have to get up as often.
  • Reduce shopping stress by keeping grocery bags light and easy to carry. 
Will quitting smoking help my breathing?

Absolutely. Smoking causes or worsens many lung-related diseases including cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also worsens asthma symptoms among children and teens. Quitting will provide both immediate and long-term benefits to your health. Several cessation treatments are available. Choose one that works best for you. For more information, call 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669).

Will exercising help my breathing?

Exercise can help your body use oxygen, strengthen muscles, and improve your state of mind. Consult with your healthcare provider before you start any exercise program. Your health care provider may prescribe oxygen therapy, increase your flow rate, or prescribe medication you can take before you exercise so you can breathe more easily. Follow these tips when you’re ready to exercise:

  • Warm up before you exercise.
  • Set goals you can reach. Reaching goals, even small ones, will give you a sense of success. Set your goals higher as you get stronger.
  • Choose activities you enjoy. If you’re bored, you’re less likely to stick with your exercise program. If you like to walk or garden, make those activities part of your exercise plan.
  • Exercise with a friend. It will push you and give you a chance to talk and laugh.
  • Don’t overdo it. Set a pace that’s comfortable for you.
  • Cool down when you’re done. Like your warm-up, your cool-down should include stretching, breathing exercises and moving at a slower pace for 5-10 minutes.
  • Reward yourself. After you reach a goal, do something nice for yourself. That will give you motivation to stay on track and reach your next goal.
  • IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, STOP AND REST. If you get dizzy, feel short of breath or have pain, seek medical help right away.

How do I make an appointment?

A physician referral is needed to enroll in our Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program. Download our Outpatient Physician Referral Form and bring it with you to your primary care provider. Our staff would be happy to assist you in making any necessary arrangements.


Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation: (203) 741-3351


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