Description of the standardised pulmonary rehabilitation programme in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Diagnostics and medical treatmentInitial physical check-up including body plethysmography, electrocardiography, cardiac ultrasound, blood sampling
Continuous adaptation of drug treatment
Initiation and adjusting of long-term oxygen therapy, if necessary
If necessary, patients received a high-resolution chest computed tomography, sleep lab diagnostics or an online consultation with a neurologist
Endurance trainingCycle endurance training was performed for 10–20 min per session at 60–70% of peak work rate 5 days per week
Strength trainingStrength training was performed using resistance training machines
The following exercises were performed: leg press, knee extension, pull-down and push-down
If possible, the following additional exercises were applied: butterfly forward/backward, rowing, back extension and abdominal trainer
Patients performed three sets per exercise at an individual intensity to reach momentary muscular failure after 15–20 repetitions
Resistance training usually took ∼30 min per session and was applied 5 days per week
Patient educationPatients visited two educational sessions per week about COVID-19 as well as on general topics such as physical activity, oxygen therapy and smoking cessation
Respiratory physiotherapyIndividually tailored chest physiotherapy using various techniques such as breathing retraining, cough techniques, mucus clearance, connective tissue massage, energy conservation techniques, etc. was applied two to four times per week for 30 min each
Activities of daily living trainingActivities of daily living training (calisthenics) was applied four to five times per week for 30 min
In addition, Nordic walking or aqua fitness were applied twice per week for 30 min
Relaxation techniquesQiGong or progressive muscle relaxation (Jacobson technique) were applied twice per week for 30 min
Occupational therapyOccupational therapy was used to treat individual neurological issues such as limited motor ability in the hands or insecure gait (if needed)
Brain-performance training was performed to improve memory and concentration
Psychological supportA psychologist supported COVID-19 patients individually as well as during group therapy on aspects of disease management and coping with COVID-19 and its sequelae
Nutritional counsellingIf necessary, nutritional counselling or nutritional supplements were provided to recover body composition (after body weight loss during hospital stay)