Lakeridge Health’s Regional Respiratory Rehab Program proves to be a breath of fresh air for patients


Stan can now walk and talk with little strain – an impressive feat for a patient with Chronic

Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) who just a little while ago found it difficult to carry on a conversation or take a short walk. Through the Lakeridge Health Regional Respiratory Rehabilitation Program, Stan has gained the skills to help him cope with his illness while enabling him to live a fuller life. Durham Region’s only respiratory rehabilitation program is run by Lakeridge Health, one of the largest hospital systems in Ontario, with four hospitals located east of Toronto in Bowmanville, Oshawa, Port Perry and Whitby.

The Lakeridge Health Respiratory Rehabilitation Program treats patients with lung diseases such as; bronchiectasis, chronic asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and COPD. COPD refers to a number of chronic lung disorders that obstruct the airways. This airway obstruction leads to a difficulty in moving air into and out of the lungs easily. The most common form of COPD is a combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Stan was referred to the program by his doctor after struggling for 2 years with the common side effects of COPD which include frequent, long-lasting lung infections, wheezing and feeling short of breath. He has been a patient with the program for 7 weeks. “Since I have joined the Lakeridge Health Respiratory Rehabilitation Program just seven weeks ago I feel 70 per cent better.” He credits the program for, “Improving many of the things that we often take for granted – including walking, taking the stairs and talking.” Carole Madeley, Respiratory Rehabilitation Therapist, said “Since our program’s beginning in 1998, we have helped over 800 patients and their families cope with their breathing disability.”

Currently, one Canadian dies from COPD every hour. With projections citing that COPD will be the third leading cause of death worldwide in 2020, there has never been a greater need to help those diagnosed learn to deal with their illness.

Do you have COPD?
Take this 30-second test:

  1. Do you smoke currently, or have you smoked cigarettes?
  2. Do you cough regularly?
  3. Do you bring up mucus regularly?
  4. Do even simple chores make you breathless?
  5. Do you get frequent colds that persist longer than those of other people you know?

If you answered “yes” to two or more of these questions, you should ask your doctor to test you for COPD.

Between 80 and 90 per cent of people who develop COPD do so because they have or do smoke. Carole explains “COPD is not usually diagnosed until people are in their fifties or sixties. COPD is having a big impact on women because many women started smoking in the 1960’s and now it is projected that more women than men will be dying from COPD.”

The Lakeridge Health Respiratory Rehabilitation Program provides clients with counselling and exercise classes. Participants attend the classes 3 times a week for 8 weeks .On a typical day Stan and his classmates learn a range of topics that include breathing techniques, management skills, the importance of exercise and the proper use of their breathing medications.

For more information about the Lakeridge Health Regional Respiratory Rehabilitation program please contact Carole Madeley at 905-576-8711 ext. 4349.