Pulmonary Rehabilitation and SNFs

Medicare defines pulmonary rehabilitation as a service intended to help an individual breathe better, increase strength, and live more independently. These services may be provided in a doctor's office or a hospital outpatient setting that offers pulmonary rehabilitation programs. While SNFs cannot provide pulmonary rehabilitation that is reimbursable by Medicare during a residents stay, they can develop care plans with a focus on pulmonary rehabilitation and recovery.  Furthermore, SNFs are an ideal transitional setting to prepare individuals to outpatient pulmonary rehab upon discharge.

Who should receive pulmonary focused rehabilitation in SNFs?

Any person with a chronic lung disease might benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation techniques and protocols. Examples of lung conditions include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, chronic bronchitis, Pneumonia, or pulmonary fibrosis. 

What are the goals of pulmonary focused rehabilitation?

Both SNFs and pulmonary rehab centers should share the same three goals:

  • Improve shortness of breath
  • Improve quality of life
  • Improve ability to do daily living activities

In order to achieve those goals, SNFs can develop a care plan that incorporates:

  • Assessment
  • Education
  • Exercise
  • Psychosocial
  • Nutrition

NJRA works with SNFs to provide the respiratory component that holds the program together. Our respiratory therapists work with the entire care team to ensure a seamless recovery experience from admission to discharge. Our Pulmonary Recovery template offers a turn-key program that is simple to brand for your facility. Click here to learn more about our Pulmonary Recovery program.

Discharging to Pulmonary Rehab

The benefits derived from pulmonary rehabilitation are only as extensive as the individual’s willingness to practice what they have learned on a regular basis. SNFs should give a list of exercises that can be perform concurrently with supervised sessions. Upon discharge, SNFs should recommend an at-home exercise program to maintain the benefits gained from the program.

Traditional pulmonary rehab is a great resource for nursing facilities to ensure their residents continue to receive the care they need post-discharge. Pulmonary rehab programs normally meet two to three times a week for six to eight weeks. The pulmonary focused care they received at the SNF can go a long way in preparing them for outpatient pulmonary rehab services.