Sauk Prairie Healthcare News

December 19, 2012

Living better with chronic illness

Chronic Illness

Raeanne LaCourt of Mazomanie says she would go back every day if she could. 

“I felt happy when I left each day,” LaCourt said. “I felt like I’d accomplished something — and I felt stronger.” 

Last fall and winter, LaCourt spent about an hour two days a week in Sauk Prairie Healthcare's pulmonary rehabilitation program. In the thirteen weeks she participated, LaCourt says she could see a huge difference in her own ability.

LaCourt said, “Each week, it got easier and easier. And each week, the therapist would adjust the machines a little bit more and a little bit more.” 

Pulmonary Rehabilitation is designed for patients like LaCourt. She’s been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and sleep apnea, both of which are chronic conditions that make it difficult to breathe. She’s been using an oxygen tank off and on for the past few years to help her breathe. 

The goal of pulmonary rehabilitation is to help someone with lung disease be able to do daily activities with less shortness of breath. Respiratory therapists teach participants how to live better with their disease through education; exercise; breathing and relaxation techniques; and a support group. 

Pulmonary rehabilitation typically includes two sessions a week for 8 to 12 weeks. Many insurance companies cover this program and Sauk Prairie Healthcare works with each patient’s insurance company to determine eligibility. 

LaCourt credits the program with helping her to understand her disease better. She started eating better during the program and continues to use what she learned to maintain her health. She exercises with hand weights at home and enjoys walking her dog, Benny.

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