What’s one thing you never thought you’d see in a hospital? A luau - complete with grass skirts, boogie boards, and straw hats. Wayne Memorial Hospital Respiratory Therapists Valerie and Steve Stout had all of that and more at their beach “luau” party July 19th to celebrate their patients surviving the first major heat wave of summer.

“Air is heavier in higher humidity,” explained Sean McVeigh, MD, medical director of the hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Department. “The times between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are peak hours where people should try to keep hydrated, stay inside, and keep their bronchodilators close by.”

Pulmonary Rehab is a multidisciplinary program where patients come in for 36 sessions of exercise tailored to each person’s abilities and level of shortness of breath. Each patient is also educated on proper oxygen use and medication during their time in the program.

“When I leave here, I feel like I can take on the world,” said Sandy DeGroat, Honesdale, who has been in the rehab program for a month. “I was so nervous about that heat wave but I couldn’t believe how well I took it on.”

The main goal of Pulmonary Rehab is sustainability or increasing the patient’s endurance to take on and complete daily tasks that can be strenuous to someone living with shortness of breath.

“When I’m doing things throughout my day,” Sandy went on to say, “I think of Valerie and Steve telling me ‘breathe in, breathe out’ and things get easier.”

“We just try to make the program fun once in a while,” continued Valerie. “They say laughter is the best medicine – and we really do have a lot of laughs.”