Couple Recuperating From COVID-19 Breathe Easier After Pulmonary Rehab


A New Hyde Park couple, both recuperating from COVID-19, are breathing easier now after a stay at Excel at Woodbury Rehabilitation and Nursing, where they were treated for lingering post-COVID breathing issues. Maria, 76, and Gerard Schiraldi , 77, were admitted to Excel last month with a host of physical issues, the result of battling the coronavirus. Both experienced shortness of breath that required supplemental oxygen, swelling of the extremities and a lingering cough. They were referred to Excel’s physical and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, under the care of Kandrap (Ken) Shah, Senior Coordinator for Cardiopulmonary program for Paragon Management.

As more and more people survive COVID-19, the lingering effects of the virus often stay with them for months afterwards. One study states that about 10 percent of people who have had COVID-19 will experience prolonged symptoms one, two or even three months after they were infected.

The married couple left the facility this week to head home and were filled with praise for the staff.

“Things turned around when I met Ken,” Gerard said of Shah, who guided their care. “He taught me what to do, how to do the breathing exercises and I can do so much more now. I never met a man, a trainer, like him.”

“My experience with therapy was just absolutely amazing,” Maria said. “I’ve never had the quality of therapy that I’ve had with the staff here. I could barely walk when I came in and I can walk on my own now.”

Long Island pulmonologist, Ian H. Newmark of Northwell Health says that breathing exercises are imperative for these post COVID-19 patients, referred to as “long-haulers.”

These exercises are well-known to those chronic pulmonary patients who are battling COPD and other lung issues, but now post COVID-19 patients are showing up at many of these support groups to learn how to get their lungs back in pre-COVID condition. Called Better Breathers Clubs, these groups fall under the umbrella of the American Lung Association (ALA) and offer an opportunity for those recovering from COVID-19 to virtually connect with others who are facing similar experiences, obtain practical information and to receive support.

—Submitted by Excel at Woodbury Rehabilitation and Nursing

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