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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

The belief that one is too breathless or unwell to participate

Start small, build up over time

The belief that one is not unwell enough to need PR

Get in early and optimise your condition

The presence and impact of anxiety and/or depression

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

Lack of knowledge about the mental and physical health benefits

Ask to speak with a member of the PR team

Previous negative experience of PR

Never give up! Ask how things might be different now

Concern that PR soon after a lung flare-up will risk another flare-up

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

Barriers related to other factors

Disruption to usual schedules or existing commitments

Discuss options with the PR team including remote support options

Lack of transport to the program’s location

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

Difficulty with access (e.g. distance from car park)

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

Lack of support from others due to their limited knowledge of PR

Read more about PR on this website. Social connections are a common benefit of PR

Associated costs of PR

Discuss your situation with the PR team

Currently smoking

PR is just as beneficial as per others and support for quitting is usually offered

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.