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Although research evidence strongly supports pulmonary rehabilitation as a highly effective treatment for many people with COPD, it is vastly under-utilised both during times of stable disease and particularly after lung flare-ups.

People often describe the ‘barriers’ to undertaking rehabilitation. In order to overcome these, it is important to identify which might apply to you and discuss them with your healthcare team. Review the list of common barriers below and click the tile for suggestions to overcome each one. 

Barriers related to yourself

I am too breathless or unwell to participate

Start small, build up over time

I am not bad enough to need PR

Get in early and optimise your condition

I feel too anxious and/or depressed

PR has proven to have moderate-large effects on such symptoms

I don’t know enough about the possible health benefits

Ask to speak with a member of the PR team

I had a poor experience of PR in the past

Never give up! Ask how things might be different now

It is too soon after my flare-up and I don’t want to have another one

Working with the trained PR team is recommended to avoid another flare-up

Barriers related to other factors

I am very busy and it will be hard to find the time

Discuss options with the PR team including remote support options

I can’t get there due to transport difficulties

Ask about transport assistance options (e.g. council, volunteer services)

It is too far to walk from the car park to the centre

Discuss options with the team. Arrive early and take rests (it can count as your warm up!)

My family / friends don’t think I should do it (have never heard of it)

Anyone can read about PR on this website. Social connections are a common benefit of PR

I won’t be able to afford the costs of PR

Discuss your situation with the PR team, not all programs have costs

I still smoke

PR can be a great place for support to quit smoking and anyone can benefit from PR

It is important to find the ‘right’ person to talk to if you feel unsure about starting pulmonary rehabilitation after a lung flare-up. Different people have different knowledge and listening / communication skills.