Optimizing Your Recovery with Cardiac Rehabilitation
Author: Lani dela Rama, RN, MSN
For heart patients or those living with chronic cardiac conditions, recovery
is an ongoing process. Beyond the physical recovery after a procedure,
there’s often a need for lifestyle adjustments, education about
their condition and psychological support. Having the dedicated support
of health care providers, loved ones and fellow survivors can make a tremendous
difference in a patient’s mental and physical rehabilitation efforts.
Whether you’re recovering from heart surgery, managing a chronic
condition or simply looking to strengthen your heart and overall health,
the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Washington Hospital has something to offer.
Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is designed to help patients repair and strengthen their heart health
throughout their outpatient recovery. The program is led by a multi-disciplinary
team of nurses, physicians, medical directors and exercise physiologists
who are available to patients during each step of their recovery process.
Initially, the program aims to educate and empower patients while they
prepare for their procedures. Before a procedure, a patient will meet
with a pre-op team that includes a pre-op nurse; a cardiac rehabilitation
therapist to review what to expect post-surgery and in the coming weeks;
an EKG technician to run final tests; and the anesthesiologist who will
be present during the procedure.
After the procedure, either a post-op nurse or the cardiac rehabilitation
therapist will review the discharge orders and care. We also work with
the families and loved ones of program participants so that everyone is
on the same page when it comes time for the patient to return home.
Generally, patients are able to participate in the second phase of the
program between four to six weeks after their surgery or procedure, though
some may start sooner with their physician’s approval. During this
phase, program participants will attend up to 36 guided rehabilitation
sessions that focus on a variety of recovery topics including:
- Heart-health education
- Body conditioning and strength training
- Blood pressure and blood sugar control
- Telemetry-monitored cardio vascular exercises
Patients have the added benefit of undergoing individual recovery education
while attending these group sessions, allowing them to receive individualized
care from their physicians as well as motivation and ongoing support from
fellow rehabilitation patients. Once they’ve completed the first
36 sessions, patients have the option to continue with the maintenance
program for a small fee.
How to Get Involved
Cardiac patients will automatically be introduced to the program and its
offerings during their pre-op appointments. Additionally, the program
is open to friends and family members of patient participants, and can
also be accessed by the public with a referral from their primary care
physician. The Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Washington Hospital also
Mended Hearts – a support group for anyone who has had heart surgery, suffered
a heart attack, or is working to manage their ongoing cardiac conditions.
Visit the Washington Hospital website to explore our cardiac rehabilitation
classes or to learn more about the
cardiac rehabilitation program.
Posted: February 2020