Pulmonary rehabilitation programs teach exercises that help maintain lung function and minimize shortness of breath. Studies show that pulmonary rehab can improve quality of life and reduce the need for hospital visits. It’s like having a personal trainer to help you strengthen your breathing muscles, and many MyCOPDTeam members rave about how much it has helped them combat shortness of breath.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, however, most pulmonary rehab came to an abrupt stop around the world. It was considered nonessential and too risky to bring members with a respiratory disease into the clinics where the instruction was offered.
MyCOPDTeam worked with the Home Rehabilitation Network, led by respiratory therapist Alexander Grichuhin, to produce videos that guide MyCOPDTeam members through techniques and tips to strengthen breathing and maintain health. Some of you may have tried them.
The videos Grichuhin created for MyCOPDTeam are:
A tutorial on pursed lip breathing, which delivers more oxygen in any given breath
How to breathe and walk with COPD using proper techniques
Breathing tips, including how to properly use chest muscles to assist the lungs and avoid shortness of breath
How to use a nebulizer with a flutter device to reduce and remove congestion and deliver medication
Cooking for COPD, featuring a recipe for chicken with cranberry-pear chutney
MyCOPDTeam wanted to connect members with valuable virtual resources to better manage their health. Any time MyCOPDTeam offers something new, we want to understand reactions to it and learn from members’ experiences. How well did this new offering work? Do members like it? Do they use it on an ongoing basis?
To understand the effectiveness of the videos Grichuhin created for MyCOPDTeam, we invited members who watched the videos to participate in two surveys. The first survey was conducted in May and June 2020, and 255 members of MyCOPDTeam participated. As part of the survey, we asked if we could reach out to them after the summer. In September, we emailed those who agreed we could contact them again. The second survey included 55 MyCOPDTeam members.
The impact of the videos has been remarkable. When we surveyed members roughly one month after the videos went live, MyCOPDTeam found that 92 percent of those who’d seen the videos had tried the techniques — with 48 percent reporting they’d done so more than 10 times.
After the summer, we conducted the follow-up survey. MyCOPDTeam found remarkable improvements in several key quality-of-life measures. Strikingly, 79 percent of respondents to the follow-on survey continued using the techniques, and 67 percent of them had made the techniques a daily habit.
Regularly using the techniques learned from the videos led to improvements in six key quality-of-life measures.
Of the MyCOPDTeam members surveyed:
This kind of impact makes it possible for members to more effectively, comfortably, and safely do the things they want to every day — at work, at home, for themselves, and for their families.
Based on the positive responses to the surveys, MyCOPDTeam will continue to create more articles and video series like this. We hope to enable members to manage their own health during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
MyCOPDTeam is the social network for people living with COPD, including emphysema. Here, over 109,000 members come together to offer advice, lend support, and share their stories.
Have you tried pulmonary rehabilitation? Have you tried the videos on MyCOPDTeam or elsewhere? MyCOPDTeam members would love to hear from you. Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation on MyCOPDTeam.