Monday, March 12, 2007

Less than 2% of Canadian COPD Patients Can Access Rehab Programs

Marked shortfall in Canada between capacity and need for respiratory services

TORONTO, March 12 /CNW/ - While the number of respiratory rehabilitation programs in Canada has doubled in the last five years, a new study by researchers at West Park Healthcare Centre shows that less than two per cent of people with a debilitating lung disease could access programs proven to significantly improve their lives.

The study, published today in the Canadian Respiratory Journal, examined the national capacity for rehabilitation of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - the fourth leading cause of death in Canada. There is no cure and the disease gets progressively worse, but patients can significantly improve their quality of life with rehabilitation programs.

"Our patients are breathless, but not helpless," says Dr. Roger Goldstein, a Respirologist at West Park Healthcare Centre, expert in COPD and co-author of the study. "Through rehabilitation programs, COPD patients can learn simple techniques that help them regain their mobility and independence."

"Recommended services include supervised exercise training, education self-management, as well as psychological and social support," said Dr.Dina Brooks, Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto, a West Park Research Associate and co-author of the study. "These types of services are inexpensive compared to the economic burden on the Canadian health care system from patients without access to rehabilitation services."

Read the full Press Release.

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