700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Bridging Our Patients from Hospital to Home

Jun 03, 2021
Little girl wearing a mask while playing in a ball bit while mom watches.

Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation is a medically supervised, individually tailored exercise and education program. It is designed to help your child feel better, increase endurance, and improve quality of life.

With cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, patients can experience a decrease in symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain and fatigue. Patients also learn coping skills for dealing with depression and anxiety. As a result, they experience an increase in flexibility and energy levels, as well as better sleep.

Who Can Benefit From Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation?

Anyone diagnosed with a condition that impacts heart or lung function can benefit, including but not limited to patients with:

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Asthma
  • Interstitial rare lung disease
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Obesity
  • Scoliosis
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Recent heart surgery
  • Post-COVID complications
  • Obstructive sleep apnea related to obesity
  • Transplant recipients
  • Oncology Disorders (Chemotherapy/Post Chemotherapy)
  • And many other diagnoses may be appropriate for rehab

What Should Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program Patients Expect?

Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs should be creative and fun! They can incorporate screen-based physically interactive video games, including activities like rhythmic dancing, balance board and virtual sport simulators. Therapists may use a trampoline, jump rope, or fitness board game to keep your child active.

The duration and frequency of therapy also vary based on your child’s individual need. A standard session typically lasts two hours, with patients coming in two or three days per week. Sessions can be virtual, in-person or hybrid. The virtual and hybrid options may be dependent on Public Health Emergency status.

After 4-6 weeks, the rehab team will assess your child’s progress to determine if further rehabilitation is necessary or a prescribed home exercise program is the next best step. The ultimate goal is to help keep patients on track and provide them the education and tools to incorporate exercise into their daily routines for years to come.

Your child should work with a healthcare team that focuses on creating a treatment plan designed specifically for them. The rehabilitation team includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, exercise physiologists, therapeutic recreation specialists, massage therapists, nutritionists and psychologists. Pharmacists can also be consulted for medication compliance issues and hospital-based school educators can assist with learning difficulties. Rehab teams have specialized training to work with patients who have experienced an acute illness or have a complex medical diagnosis that limits their mobility and function.

Learn more about Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Nationwide Children's Hospital and how we help transition your child from the hospital to home.

Featured Expert

Nancy Wright, BS, RRT, RCP, AE-C
Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation
Theresa Miller, BA, RRT, RCP, AE-C, CPFT
Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

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Pediatric News You Can Use From America’s Largest Pediatric Hospital and Research Center

700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.