Benefits of an inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program: A prospective analysis

Academic Article


  • Objective: To examine the effect of an inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program on functional outcome, supplemental oxygen use, quality of life (QOL), and rehospitalization. Design: A prospective study. Setting: Inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation unit. Patients: One hundred fifty-seven patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) admitted to an inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program over a 3-year period. Intervention: Comprehensive interdisciplinary inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program with an average length of stay of 21 days. Main Outcome Measures: Improvements in QOL questionnaire scores, COPD knowledge questionnaire scores, 6-minute walking test (with 3 ambulation categories: bed-bound, household ambulators, community ambulators), and supplemental oxygen use. Rehospitalization 1 year after completion of the program was also assessed and compared with hospital days for the year before the program. Results: On discharge from the program, 88% of individuals walked farther (p < .0001), and community ambulators doubled their walking distance, whereas bed-bound patients decreased 10-fold; supplemental oxygen use dropped 33% during the day (p < .0001) and 57% during the night (p < .0001); 82% showed improved QOL (p < .0001); 67% showed improved knowledge of COPD (p < .0001); and 67% of the sample spent less time in the hospital during the 12 months after program completion compared with the 12 months before admission (p < .001). Conclusions: An inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program leads to improved endurance and functional ambulation, decreased supplemental oxygen use, and fewer hospitalizations 1 year after discharge for patients with COPD. © 2001 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Stewart DG; Drake DF; Robertson C; Marwitz JH; Kreutzer JS; Cifu DX
  • Start Page

  • 347
  • End Page

  • 352
  • Volume

  • 82
  • Issue

  • 3