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New Videos Call Attention to Seriousness of COPD and Encourage Rural Hospitals to Improve Access to Pulmonary Rehab Programs

Two new educational videos now available from the National Rural Health Resource Center highlight the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the country’s rural communities and the steps that critical access hospitals and other small rural hospitals can take to improve access to much-needed pulmonary rehabilitation services.

The videos, developed as part of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy-funded Expanding Rural Access to Pulmonary Care Demonstration Project, are designed to help hospital staff, administrators, board members and community members better understand the seriousness of COPD in rural communities and the benefits of improving access to local pulmonary rehab programs.

The first video, Understanding COPD and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, provides an overview of COPD — its symptoms and causes — and explains how rural-based pulmonary rehabilitation services help to restore independence and quality of life in COPD patients.

The second video, How to Launch a Pulmonary Rehab Program, highlights the benefits — to hospitals and their community — of operating rural pulmonary rehab programs, and shares practical advice and tips on how critical access hospitals and small rural hospitals can successfully build and sustain pulmonary rehab programs at their own facilities. The video includes a look at two critical access hospitals — Sparta Community Hospital in Illinois and Hood Memorial Hospital in Louisiana —that opened pulmonary rehab programs in 2023.

By showcasing the voices and experiences of health care professionals who treat COPD and manage pulmonary rehab programs, patients who have benefited from access to rural-based pulmonary rehab services, hospital administrators who have guided new programs at their facilities, and consultants who have supported hospitals in developing their programs, the videos illustrate the real-life impact rural pulmonary rehab programs can have and demonstrate that these programs can successfully operate in rural communities.

Staff, administrators and board members from critical access hospitals and small rural hospitals are encouraged to view these new videos to better understand the impact of COPD in rural communities, the benefits of providing rural-based pulmonary rehab programs and the steps hospitals can take to build their own programs.

And, as hospitals consider whether establishing new pulmonary rehabilitation services might be a good fit, they can also review other Center-created resources that may help inform their organization’s planning and decision-making processes:

If you have any questions about the videos or the National Rural Health Resource Center's other COPD-related resources, please contact Sally T. Buck, The Center's CEO, at