Most people struggling with an illness are familiar with the kind of prescription they get from their doctor. But, the kind of prescriptions Jared Dormer provides are not typical. Jared is an exercise therapist at the Moose Jaw Hospital. His job is to prescribe exercise as leader of the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Moose Jaw Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program. The program provides support to people living with lung disease as well as education about their condition. It also incorporates exercise, which Jared says is key for someone struggling to breathe. “We can’t change what’s happened to the lungs when disease occurs, but we can help the muscles in the body utilize the oxygen more efficiently,” says Jared.
A Different Kind of Prescription
It’s hard to believe that people who have a disease that makes them breathless when they’re active are prescribed exercise, but, pulmonary rehabilitation is a recommended treatment for people with COPD. “Most people who are new to pulmonary rehabilitation are skeptical of it at first and they are a little nervous too. The program offers a safe environment that breaks the cycle of inactivity. Most importantly, it is an effective way to get people back doing the things they love,” says Jared.
Jared is described by his patients as energetic and positive. They also say he has a special personality that gently encourages and empowers others toward success. When asked what he loves most about his work, he says he loves seeing people’s faces when they realize the program is working and that they are improving and feeling better. “There is great joy in giving others hope again,” he says. Jared wants the public to know that if they’ve have been diagnosed with COPD, life is not hopeless. “COPD is not curable but there are things we can do to maintain your independence. You are not alone. There are health care professionals, therapists and the staff at The Lung Association all here to help you,” says Jared.
In addition to being an exercise therapist, Jared is a husband to his wife Amie, and a professional percussionist in a band called West of Mabou. His band has recently been nominated for World Artist of the Year at the upcoming Western Canadian Music Awards.
Marching to the Beat of his Own Drum
When starting the pulmonary rehabilitation program in Moose Jaw one could say he was marching to the beat of his own drum. Several years later and countless lives made better, we hope Jared keeps on marching (and drumming) for the people of Saskatchewan.