Pulmonary Wellness Foundation Launches Free Online Rehab for COVID-19 Survivors

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Bootcamp for survivors, “long-haulers” with lingering symptoms, maximizes healing

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“It was initially believed that COVID was primarily a respiratory illness and that you could expect to suffer for a couple of weeks and then it’s gone. Now, we know that it also affects the cardiovascular, the neurological, and gastrointestinal systems,” said Noah Greenspan, DPT.

The Pulmonary Wellness Foundation (PWF), a New York City-based nonprofit organization whose team has been treating cardiovascular, pulmonary and complex medical patients for nearly three decades, today announced the launch of the nation’s first online COVID Rehabilitation & Recovery Bootcamp.

Officially called COVID Bootcamp 101, the program kicked off Sunday, August 2 and meets on Wednesday and Sunday evenings at 7 pm ET. There is no charge for the program, which is conducted by an experienced team of medical and allied healthcare professionals; and operates solely on donations to the foundation. Please click here to register.

The program consists of online breathing, exercise and other therapy programs, as well as patient education and support. PWF is also offering personal consultations with top experts in their respective fields, all specifically-geared toward helping COVID-19 patients get the care they need in order to reach their full potential.

“It was initially believed that COVID was primarily a respiratory illness and that you could expect to suffer for a couple of weeks and then it’s gone. Now, we know that it also affects the cardiovascular, the neurological, and gastrointestinal systems, among other potential effects,” said Noah Greenspan, DPT, founder of the Pulmonary Wellness program and creator of COVID Bootcamp 101. Greenspan is a doctor of physical therapy specializing in the care of cardiovascular, pulmonary and complex medical patients. In a short video introduction to the program, Greenspan speaks to COVID survivors and invites them to join the Bootcamp.    

Greenspan describes long-haulers as patients who recovered from the acute virus, but after 30, 60, 90 and even 120 days, are still experiencing symptoms. “Some are not only not getting better, but in some cases, they’re actually getting worse, and they span all ages, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status,” he said.

Marion Mackles is a cardiopulmonary physical therapist and chief of the foundation’s airway clearance program. She calls Bootcamp a “vital necessity” for the tens of thousands of COVID-19 patients who’ve had to endure the virus on their own. “So many people out there are still suffering, weeks and even months after they’ve ‘recovered from’ the virus,” said Mackles. “They have no idea what they should be experiencing or even what questions to ask their doctors. Our program is designed to give them the knowledge base and support they need, to help them both physically and emotionally, so they can get back to living their lives again.”

Today’s announcement came as the global total of confirmed COVID-19 infections surpassed 17 million. The disease, caused by the novel coronavirus, has killed more than 150,000 Americans, including 32,658 in New York State and 15,798 in New Jersey.

The PWF also produces a webinar series, regarding COVID-19-related issues that has featured guest physicians representing multiple medical disciplines including gastroenterologist Reem Sharaiha, MD; cardiologist Stephen McCullough, MD; neurologist Alexander Merkler, MD and pulmonologist, Robert Kaner, MD, chairperson of the foundation’s scientific committee and director of the interstitial lung disease program at New York’s Weill Cornell Medical Center. Recordings of the archived COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery Series are available along with more information on PWF efforts via the website at https://pulmonarywellness.org.

“One of the most important aspects of infection control for COVID-19 is avoiding exposure in the first place. This is particularly important for people with pre-existing conditions,” Dr. Kaner said. “Because pulmonary patients are already at increased risk of morbidity and mortality, they’ve been staying at home. But because they’re not going out and exercising—and because they aren’t able to attend outpatient rehabilitation programs due to COVID—the need is even greater.”

“Now, more than ever, we have so many patients who are severely debilitated or burdened with chronically damaged lungs and other organs. They need not only physical therapy, but a very specific type of therapy: cardiopulmonary rehabilitation,” said Louis DePalo, MD, the newest member of the foundation’s advisory board, medical director of the Health Center at Hudson Yards and professor of pulmonary medicine at New York’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Hopefully as we begin to emerge from the initial devastation, we will continue to increase our capacity to provide these essential therapies, both remotely and eventually in person.”

About the Pulmonary Wellness Foundation
The Pulmonary Wellness Foundation is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization designed to serve as the world’s most comprehensive and advanced pulmonary wellness hub and community for people living with pulmonary diseases. Respiratory illnesses affect millions of people of all ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic groups. More information is available at https://pulmonarywellness.org/.

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Media Contact:
Moon Vitiello
mleevitie@gmail.com
917.494.0080

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