Pulmonary rehabilitation


Research shows that pulmonary rehabilitation is one of the best things patients can do to improve their breathing and wellbeing.[1] The Pulmonary Rehabilitation program has been shown to help people breathe easier, improve their quality of life and stay out of hospital. It reduces breathlessness, fatigue, anxiety and depression, improves exercise capacity, emotional function and enhances patients’ sense of control over their condition.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary Rehabilitation is the first step in consumers exercise rehabilitation pathway. Hosted in a hospital environment by health professionals, Pulmonary Rehabilitation provides newly diagnosed consumers with a safe, evidence-based exercise program to help manage their condition.      

View Pulmonary Rehabilitation Class locations

National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Strategy Framework 2023 – 2026

Lung Foundation Australia is pleased to launch the PR Strategy Framework. This Framework focuses on building awareness of the benefits of PR and on establishing and documenting the compelling case for change in the provision and funding of services.

Read more
PR Strategy Promotional Pack
Help us share the PR Strategy through your networks and advocate for increased access and equity of PR throughout Australia with our promotional resources.  

What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a 6–8 week evidence-based exercise and education program that teaches people with a lung disease the skills they need to manage their breathlessness and stay well and out of hospital. 

The program consists of an individual assessment which includes safe exercise capacity testing and medical history followed by exercise training and education. The exercise component focuses on increasing physical function and is individualised to cover safety considerations. The education component assists patients to manage their condition by providing knowledge in areas such as breathing techniques, using medications and energy conservation. 

Who is eligible for Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

Patients need a referral from a GP or Lung Specialist to join a program. Pulmonary Rehabilitation is generally suitable for people who have a mild, moderate or severe chronic lung disease and who are limited by breathlessness. 

Typical eligibility criteria includes patients who:

  • Have a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other respiratory conditions such as bronchiectasis, interstitial lung disease, chronic asthma or pulmonary hypertension. 
  • Are recovering from an acute exacerbation of their condition. 
  • Are willing to participate (even if they are on long-term oxygen therapy or are current smokers). 

How do patients join a program?

Referrals to pulmonary rehabilitation programs can come from: 

  • Respiratory specialists including physicians, surgeons, physiotherapists and nurses. 
  • General practitioners
  • General physicians
  • Other allied health professionals
  • Community health professionals 
  • Potential participants (i.e. self referrals).

The National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Network

Lung Foundation Australia developed the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Network with the aim to: 

  • Share important updates  
  • Provide a forum for sharing ideas  
  • Facilitate peer support to new and developing programs   
  • Promote increased access to pulmonary rehabilitation across Australia   

By joining the network you will be invited to our online quarterly meetings. Network members can choose to opt out at any time, and there is no obligation to partake in extra tasks outlined above. Involvement is up to the individual member based on their interest and circumstance.  

In order to be officially added to the network please complete this form with the details below. Upon confirmation you will be sent a link with the most recent annual meeting documents and the current Terms of Reference.   

If you are interested in joining the network, please email enquiries@lungfoundation.com.au.

  1. Lung Foundation Australia & The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, 2017. Australia and New Zealand Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinical Practice Guidelines, l.: Wiley.