The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center is the result of a fruitful cooperation between the Pulmonary Institute, the Cardiac Rehabilitation Institute and the Physiotherapy Institute. The program is designed for people suffering from a chronic pulmonary disease such as COPD, asthma, bronchiectasis, Interstitial Lung Disease and any pulmonary illness that causes shortness of breath and a substantial decrease in day-to-day function. 
This is a multi-disciplinary program that includes a lung physician, physiotherapist, social worker and dietician. The program is individually tailored for each participant based on the physiotherapist's assessment and carried out in small groups (6 people). Each session lasts an hour. During this time the participants work out using different fitness devices (treadmill, exercise bicycle, free weights etc.) to strengthen the skeletal muscles and maximize the usage of their respiratory muscles. 

Who can benefit from the program?
•    Patients with a chronic pulmonary illness who have difficulty with light exertion such walking, climbing stairs, using the shower etc.
•    People suffering from shortness of breath during simple everyday activities.
•    Patients facing pulmonary surgery and patients who recently underwent such surgery. 
•    Patients after hospitalization due to deterioration in COPD or an inflammation of another pulmonary disease.
•    People who wish to improve their quality of life and have motivation.

Goals of rehabilitation
Improvement in physical fitness and in perseverance during exertion. People who can walk only short distances because of shortness of breath will be able to walk for longer distances before needing a rest. These achievements improve the performance of everyday tasks and allow the participants a greater level of independence. 
Reduction in the level of depression and anxiety (as measured using standard questionnaires). Depression is a common phenomenon among pulmonary patients. Rehabilitation improves their quality of life.

What happens in pulmonary rehabilitation?
Aerobic workout that operates large muscle groups, such as walking on a treadmill or pedaling an exercise bicycle. Measurements such as pulse and saturation are checked during the workout. Additional oxygen will be given to participants who need it.
Strengthening of individual muscle groups such as the upper limbs, the lower limbs and the abdominal muscles. 
It is very important to follow a twice-weekly workout schedule. Each session is 50-60 minutes. 
Many studies support the benefits of a twice-weekly program for at least three months. Such a program significantly improves exertion stamina and quality of life. Rehabilitation also reduces complications from the disease and the number of hospitalizations and referrals to medical institutes. 
We wish to emphasize: the purpose of the rehabilitation program is not to improve lung function of cure the disease but to improve everyday function and quality of life. 

Usually the HMO will issue a payment guarantee for a series of 12 or 24 sessions. In some cases and based on the arrangement with each HMO the guarantee's duration can be extended or a private payment arrangement can be reached. 
Participation in the program is subject to a referral from the patient's pulmonary physician.