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St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary


Media Contact: Joshua Cowan, St. Helena Hospital

Phone: 967-7515 Email:


St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Clearlake California – St. Helena Clear Lake’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, which has helped many community members celebrate personal milestones, is proud to celebrate a milestone of its own: 10 years of service. The program, which is designed to improve the quality of life for people with chronic lung disease, measures the significance of this anniversary by the difference it has made in the community, one life at a time.

“What we do here has made a life-changing difference for hundreds of local residents,” says Program Coordinator Nancy Perrin, RCP. “For people living with conditions like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, or pulmonary fibrosis, even the most basic activities of life can seem overwhelming. With this program, we help people get their lives back, and do more than they ever thought possible.”

Under the leadership of world-renowned pulmonary specialist John Hodgkin, MD, St. Helena Clear Lake Pulmonary Rehabilitation emphasizes individual solutions based on each patient’s needs and goals. The benefits of the program include breathing more comfortably, greater mobility, reduced anxiety and depression, and the ability to do daily activities with greater ease. The evidence-based program is nationally certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AAVCPR), the gold standard for pulmonary rehabilitation programs. Certified AACVPR programs are recognized as leaders in the field of cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation because they offer the most advanced practices available.

“We start with a careful assessment of each patient, then build a program using goal setting, structured therapy, and exercise therapy,” says Perrin, who works individually with each participant, along with Rehab Secretary Donna Perry. “Education and empowerment are key elements of success, so we do a lot of teaching and encouraging. Ultimately, though, our patients are the heroes. They teach us so much about strength and commitment that we feel incredibly fortunate to work with them.”

One of those heroes is John Gilliam, 72, who was recently referred by his pulmonary physician in Lakeport. Diagnosed with moderate chronic obstructive lung disease, he was extremely debilitated, with severe shortness of breath on exertion. After 30 years of a 2-pack-a-day habit, John was skeptical that the program could help him. Now, however, he’s a believer. “The positive way I was treated when I started the exercise program has made all the difference. I’m breathing easier already having learned proper breathing techniques and self pacing, and seem to have an easier time exerting myself.”

Sylvia Timmons, 58, is another believer. Originally diagnosed in 2008 with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension, an untreatable disorder, Sylvia underwent bilateral lung transplant surgery in 2011. In the aftermath of a series of complications and setbacks following the surgery, Sylvia was disheartened by her inability to manage many of the basic tasks in her life. “I had an unspoken dream of going on a vacation with my husband and son, but I didn’t think my body could ever handle the challenges of a road trip. I couldn’t even go grocery shopping, which I’ve always loved to do,” she says. After starting rehab in the late fall of 2012, however, she experienced major improvements in strength and stamina that brought a renewed sense of hope. Now, Sylvia has achieved her dream of going on vacation, and has returned to many of the simple pleasures of life she thought she’d lost forever. “I have so much more self-confidence, and I can do the things I need to do. Best of all, I’ve learned how to continue to exercise at home to maintain my progress.”

At 90 years young, Robert Urquhart is one of the most young-at-heart attendees of pulmonary rehabilitation. After graduating from the full program over 5 years ago, he has steadfastly continued his exercise at home, and faithfully attends the maintenance exercise group for graduated patients. Far from seeing his workouts as a chore, Bob approaches them in typical can-do fashion. “The pulmonary rehab group is my social time and a good opportunity to get my vitals checked weekly,” he says. “We are a wonderful ‘motley crew’ of graduated folks who care about continuing our exercise and breathing as best as we can. This program is a great community service for those who need it. I certainly did!”

With hundreds of stories like these, to the team at St. Helena Clear Lake Pulmonary Rehabilitation, 10 years of service seems like just the beginning.

“We built this program on things that are proven to work, often very simple things, and we’ve seen the value of it demonstrated over and over again,” says Dr. Hodgkin. “One of the most powerful things we try to convey is that even though many of these conditions are incurable, you can get better. Even small things add up, over time, to greater wellness in body and mind, and we’re here to help you make that arithmetic work.”

For more information on attending the Pulmonary Rehabilitation program contact Donna Perry at (707)-995-5624.  Location is at the Hilltop Professional Building, 15322 Lakeshore Blvd, Ste 204, Clearlake.

About St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake: St. Helena Hospital is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 28,700 includes more than 21,000 employees; 4,500 medical staff physicians; and 3,000 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist health values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 19 hospitals, more than 150 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 14 home care agencies, six hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. We invite you to visit for more information.