An adapted rehabilitation programme for a cross section of South African chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients
The benefits of exercise training for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are well-documented. In South Africa, exercise programmes for COPD patients are limited and often expensive and inaccessible to the broader community. The purpose of this study was to assess the responses of COPD patients to an exercise programme and to determine if the same results can be obtained through a less costly programme. In the primary programme of the study, 22 subjects were subjected to 12 weeks of exercise training. Each subject underwent comprehensive pre- and post-intervention assessments, which included the measurement of overall health status by a physician, level of dyspnoea, forced expiratory lung function, exercise capacity, body mass index and health-related quality of life. Exercise sessions included aerobic and strength training exercises and involved three, hour-long exercise sessions a week. In the modified programme, 18 subjects were randomly divided into an experimental and control group. Eleven subjects were included in the experimental group and seven subjects in the control group. Subjects had to complete 32, hour-long exercise sessions in a 10-week period. The experimental group’s exercise programme was adapted so that no specialised equipment was used, while the control group exercised in a well-equipped exercise- and rehabilitation centre.