Mercy Adding Pulmonary Rehab Service

March 6, 2014

Michele Foreman, RN, BSN

Mercy Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab Coordinator

For the past 10 years, Michele Foreman, RN, BSN, has served patients through the Mercy Cardiac Rehabilitation program and now will expand her scope of services to offer Pulmonary Rehabilitation in the same location.

Beginning March 10, Pulmonary Rehab will be offered in the Cardiac Rehab clinic on the lower level of Mercy Clinic Primary Care, 800 W. Laurel, Independence.

“I am thrilled to now be able to reach more patients in need in the southeast Kansas area to assist with treatment, education and lifestyle planning to help them recover and live life more fully as they manage their conditions,” Foreman said.

She explained that pulmonary rehabilitation assists patients who experience a variety of lung problems, including: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); Emphysema; Chronic Bronchitis; Pulmonary Hypertension; Pulmonary Fibrosis; Interstitial lung disease; lung cancer and lung cancer surgery; and lung volume reduction surgery before or after lung transplantation.

Rehab includes relevant, tailored exercise classes and education related to the patient’s condition, Foreman said, noting the program is provided in multiple sessions and phases. While each patient will have individually prescribed rehabilitation orders, much of the education and instruction will be offered in group sessions.

“Interaction with fellow patients helps better facilitate the learning process and provides social and emotional support for individuals facing similar life circumstances,” Foreman explained.

Education offered through pulmonary rehab is related to a variety of topics, including medications; self-care; diet, nutrition and weight management; understanding and using oxygen therapy; the importance of exercise; breathing retraining; and symptom assessment in order to help a patient know when to seek medical treatment.

Smoking cessation also is a key educational offering, she noted, and Foreman is certified as a smoking cessation counselor.

The benefits of rehabilitation, Foreman said, can include a reduction in symptoms and improvement in the overall disease or condition; better ability to function in daily life; and decreased symptoms and better management of anxiety and depression.


James Hignight, M.D., Mercy internal medicine physician, will serve as the medical director for the pulmonary rehab program, and patient referrals to the program may come from any area physician, Foreman said.

Foreman has been employed with Mercy Independence since 1990. While she has worked in several different capacities, since 2004 she has coordinated the Mercy Cardiac Rehabilitation program, providing service to patients who have experienced cardiac events and procedures. She has supervised more than 650 patient visits in the cardiac rehab department.

More information on Mercy Pulmonary Rehabilitation is available by contacting the department at 620-330-8248.