This is a very important, but less public perception of the physiotherapy scope of practice. Remembering that physiotherapists constantly address mobility issues with non pharmaceutical interventions, it is not surprising this area of expertise is crucial in the management of heart and lung disorders.
At Home Physiotherapy consistently provides successful rehabilitation programs for people with various cardiac and respiratory diagnoses to improve the quality of lives for their clients.
The primary role of the lungs is to bring oxygen into the body and get rid of carbon dioxide, the waste product of metabolism. The heart must pump blood with fresh oxygen throughout the body and return that blood with the carbon dioxide, back to the lungs to get rid of it. Anything that interferes with this process may result in significant dysfunction and altered lifestyle.
Conditions such as COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, Emphysema, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Bronchectasis, Thoracic Surgery and Trauma all affect lung function and interfere with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Lung tissue can be overstretched and lose elasticity; it can be inflamed and produce excess secretions … these significantly affect breathing efficiency. This can be extremely stressful for the individual as they develop breathing difficulties, become extremely short of breath on minimal exertion, become highly deconditioned and develop secondary health problems.
Physiotherapists are trained to listen to the lungs with and without a stethoscope, to complete a functional evaluation, assess breathing quality and activity tolerance.
Physiotherapy intervention for respiratory disorders would include:
- Assist with secretions removal
- Teach effective breathing patterns which would reduce stress and anxiety
- Prepare an activity program to improve overall fitness level and lung efficiency (regardless of present functional level)
- Teach self management to minimize hospital admissions and acute infections.
The Ottawa region is extremely well serviced by the internationally respected Ottawa Heart Institute that provides clients with state of the art cardiac care and cardiac rehabilitation.
Once discharged home from hospital, some people find the journey to and from the outpatient facility challenging and would prefer to participate in a home based rehab program either temporarily until they feel more physically or mentally able to travel to the outpatient programs.
Sometimes months to years post cardiac incident/surgery, balance and endurance issues arise and present a need for a program revision to safely and independently continue in a home or community setting.
Access At Home Physiotherapy can advise, support and monitor patients with heart and lung conditions to guide them in activities that increase their fitness and endurance levels, regardless of their present functional level. They collaborate with hospital based physiotherapists and work with individuals living independently at home, in various senior residences, in convalescent care, or in long term care facilities.
With regular physiotherapy intervention, an individual can maintain their existing functional level and continue living in their present location.