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CHCS Cardiac Rehab program expands

Community HealthCare System is expanding its Cardiac Rehab program. The program, which began in early 2020, will now include both Phase 2 and Phase 3 options for individuals who are recovering from a heart attack, heart or heart valve surgery, or heart catheterization. The program also helps patients who are managing chronic congestive heart failure.

Phase 2 lasts 6 to 12 weeks, and participants attend up to an hour-long session three days a week to exercise and learn about topics such as medications, high blood pressure management, and nutrition. Phase 3, the latest addition, is the transition from being fully supervised to independent, and the program lasts four months. In this phase, a Cardiac Rehab nurse and a Fitness Center Coordinator will help participants prepare to exercise on their own and track heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugars before and after exercise, target heart ranges, and more. The program helps participants assess progress and stay on track.

“We’re thrilled to offer Phase 3 rehab to participants who are ready for those next steps on the road to maintaining a healthier lifestyle,” said Meranda Schmitz, RN and Cardiac Rehab nurse.

Schmitz said that participants who previously completed Phase 2 elsewhere or who need extra motivation or help renewing their commitment to fitness are welcome to join the Phase 3 program in Onaga.

“We are here to help guide participants through the 16-week program. We meet several times, talk about how they are doing and what they need to work on, what they need help with, and how they can progress. It’s like having a personal trainer who does extra work with vital signs and building other healthy habits,” Schmitz said.

The new Phase 3 program will be available in both Frankfort and Onaga.

According to Schmitz, another area of expansion for the program, SET for PAD, is coming in early spring. Supervised Exercise Therapy for Peripheral Artery Disease helps people with insufficiency in veins in their arms and legs, which causes pain, heaviness, and cramping. PAD makes walking and exercise painful, and the program helps extend the distances they are able to walk without pain through supervised and individualized exercise.

“We provide encouragement and education about other things that can help as we work with periods of exercise and rest using Fitness Center equipment,” Schmitz said.

Increased cardiovascular activity increases blood flow to the affected areas that helps participants become more active and have reduced pain.

“The goal with these programs is to help our participants live fuller, more active, and healthier lives. Watching their progress is truly amazing,” Schmitz said.

Chief Nursing Officer Mindy Olberding said that no matter where patients receive their cardiac care, they can choose to do Cardiac Rehab at CHCS. Patients who are hospitalized after a heart attack in Topeka or Kansas City, for instance, don’t need to travel far from home for rehab.

“Here at CHCS, we strive to bring health and wellness to our patients, and by providing Cardiac Rehab services locally, we are meeting this goal. I am proud of our growth in this program despite the challenges of the last year,” Olberding said.

To learn more about Cardiac Rehab or SET for PAD, call 785-889-4272, ext. 4177.

Read a patient story about Cardiac Rehab.


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