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What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac Rehab nurse


Cardiac rehab is an outpatient program that combines both exercise and education to modify a participant’s lifestyle. The customized and medically supervised program helps participants improve their cardiac health. Cardiac rehab is crucial for those who have had a recent heart attack, had heart surgery, had valve surgery, or a have had a heart catheterization with or without stents. It can also help people with chronic congestive heart failure. The program generally lasts 6 to 12 weeks, with participants attending up to an hour-long session three days a week. These sessions consist of exercise as well as education. Weekly education topics include medications, high blood pressure management, heart failure management, and nutrition, just to name a few.

I am excited to have the opportunity to be involved with the new program here at Community Healthcare System in Onaga. I have always had a love of cardiology, but my experience has been mostly emergency and inpatient hospitalization. I rarely get to see how the patients do after discharge, so it’s thrilling to think that I will be more involved in their long-term recovery. It’s also exciting to learn alongside participants to make better choices in my life because, let’s face it, everyone could practice healthier habits. I am very lucky to have a licensed dietitian as well as physical and occupational therapists to consult and help me improve the lives of cardiac rehab participants.

Working on your own health and sticking with it is difficult at times. Life is busy, and we have jobs and family members who depend on us. Cardiac rehab can last up to 12 weeks, and it can be hard to schedule three days a week for rehab, but the benefits are worth it. The great thing about having our program in Onaga is that clients won’t have to travel so far and can stay in the same system as their physician, thus making scheduling a bit easier. We try, and will continue to try, to do our best to work around participants’ schedules to keep them going. The program is so important for participants’ health that we want to make it as convenient as we can.

If cardiac rehab participants are able to complete the program and are willing to make some lifestyle adjustments, they will feel better and be able to be more active. Studies have shown that completing a cardiac rehabilitation program and maintaining those lifestyle adjustments can significantly help to prevent future cardiac events. Some people may also have more control over their high blood pressure and blood sugars. There are only positive outcomes to improving your heart health.

February 9-15 is Cardiac Rehab Week, so let’s get the word out! If you have congestive heart failure or have had an event or procedure in the last year — or if you know of someone who has — talk with your doctor to see if you qualify and could benefit from our new Cardiac Rehab Program. Read more and find contact information

— Meranda Schmitz, RN, Cardiac Rehab Phase II


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