November 28, 2012


JUPITER, Fla. (November 28, 2012) – Lung patients at Jupiter Medical Center (JMC) are making music together. How? By playing harmonicas to maintain respiratory capacity in a monthly support group held on the medical center’s campus. Shawn M. Ballew, Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT), leads the group.

The American Lung Association saw the need in the 1970s nationwide to provide better support and information to people with emphysema and chronic bronchitis (known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD) and asthma. Word quickly spread that patients felt support groups offered them something unique: ongoing education/information about their disease, coping mechanisms for daily challenges and a sense of camaraderie.

JMC began partnering with the American Lung Association more than two years ago and created 30-minute monthly Better Breathers Club meetings with free harmonica lessons, taught by Murray Rivette, the adult winner of Palm Beach Idol 2012. Patients with COPD have a problem exhaling effectively and completely with each breathe, thus making them feel short of breath, either all the time or only on exertion. Harmonica playing is beneficial to lung function because it requires a long, slow exhalation, decreasing shortness of breath and encouraging effective retraining of breathing. The program also offers lectures on COPD given by a healthcare professional. JMC hosts the largest Better Breathers Club in South Florida.

“The Better Breathers program provides an opportunity for patients to continually educate themselves about the care and treatment of their disease. It also gives them a chance to share ideas and solutions in a supportive environment,” said Ballew. “The overall goal is to empower our patients with skills that will increase their quality of life.”

The Better Breathers Club meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month, from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., in the Raso Education Center on JMC’s campus. The meetings are free, and caregiver and/or spouse are encouraged to attend. For more information, call (561) 263-2043.

About Jupiter Medical Center
A not-for-profit 283-bed regional medical center consisting of 163 private acute care hospital beds and 120 long-term care, sub-acute rehabilitation and Hospice beds, Jupiter Medical Center provides a broad range of services with specialty concentrations in orthopedics and spine, geriatrics, minimally-invasive surgical procedures including robotic surgery, emergency services, cardiac services, obstetrics, cancer care and advanced diagnostics. Founded in 1979, the medical center has approximately 1,500 team members, 520 physicians and 700 volunteers. Jupiter Medical Center is the recipient of the HealthGrades ‘America’s 50 Best’ Award™ for two years in a row (2011-2012) and the Distinguished Hospital Award - Clinical Excellence™ for eight years in a row (2005-2012). For more information on Jupiter Medical Center, please call (561) 263-2234 or visit www.jupitermed.com

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