Thanks to today’s quality post cardiac rehabilitation programs, these days more and more people manage to survive severe heart problems that often cause millions of fatalities worldwide. This quality care allows cardiac patients to avoid further complications and make positive changes to enhance their life expectancy and improve their overall heart health.
What Does Cardiac Rehabilitation Involve?
Cardiac Rehabilitation, also known as cardiac rehab, is a special professionally monitored program designed to meet the medical and non-medical needs of patients who are recovering after heart surgery, heart attacks or PCIs (percutaneous coronary interventions).
Generally speaking, these programs ensure access to counseling services and a wide array of resources enabling patients to:
- Identify and address cardiac symptoms in a timely fashion
- Boost physical fitness
- Improve overall health
- Minimize the likelihood of developing other heart diseases
Cardiac rehab programs focus on a few key pillars including emotional support, physical exercise, and education and lifestyle changes. All of these components are equally important and may help the people enrolled in a post-cardiac rehabilitation program stay active and healthy for many more years to come. Also, cardiac rehab may enable patients to get their lives back on track more quickly after a traumatic experience (such as open heart surgery) and allow them to work safely, and regain their normal mind-body balance.
The Basics of Cardiac Rehabilitation
Some individuals may have the opportunity to become involved in a cardiac rehab program while still receiving treatment in the hospital. Others are enrolled in such programs right after ending their treatment and leaving the hospital. In any case, exploring the benefits of a comprehensive cardiac rehab program is always a good idea, considering that this option could help patient’s live healthier, happy lives.
In most cases, doctors will provide exercise prescriptions enabling cardiac rehab specialists to establish the most suitable intensity, duration and frequency for each patient’s personalized workout. In this context, it goes without saying that no two exercise programs are alike. Each workout is based on the patient’s physical condition, age and medical history. The duration and overall success rate of cardiac recovery depends a great deal on one’s age and medical condition. For instance, younger people will usually improve faster than an older individual who is dealing with several other health concerns (called comorbidities) such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Cardiac rehab is a personalized program tailored to the patient’s medical needs and health, which comprises three phases that may vary in length, based on the way in which each individual responds to therapy and treatment.
Phase I: Inpatient Cardiac Rehab
Phase I enables patients to benefit from an inpatient program in the hospital, right after experiencing one or more major heart problems, such as surgery or a heart attack. During this initial phase, a specialist will assess a few basic aspects, such as the patient’s ability to take care of essential daily responsibilities, including grooming, bathing and dressing. Also, a doctor will evaluate the patient’s ability to stay active through an exercise routine, by conducting several tests to figure out how soon and how often the patient will be able to work on his or her physical condition. Moreover, during this phase, the doctor will also make a list of all the daily activities that a patient could safely perform. Last but not least, during Phase I patients will be encouraged to do light exercises, and their family members will receive the most accurate information on lifestyle changes that their relative will have to implement to prevent further heart problems in the future. Quitting smoking, staying active and adopting a well-balanced diet based on healthy foods are three of the most common guidelines that most families receive from their doctors.
Phase II: Post-Acute Cardiac Rehab
Phase II of cardiac recovery will take place in a skilled nursing facility or outpatient rehab program. When patients leave the hospital, they may often require continued short term care to recover completely. Post-acute care, also known as short-term rehab, is care that is received after a hospitalization, with the goal of regaining strength and transitioning back home with good health and independence. A skilled nursing facility provides short-term rehab for those individuals requiring additional healing time, nursing care and rehabilitation. During short-term rehab, nursing will monitor the patient 24/7 to make sure that he or she is following the doctor’s recommendations in terms of nutrition, exercise and other lifestyle changes. During this phase of cardiac recovery, physical and occupational therapy play an extremely important role.
Cardiac rehabilitation programs are designed to help you control your symptoms and resume an active and productive life within the limits of your condition. A physical therapist will design a custom exercise plan to help you regain strength and participate in beneficial unsupervised activities, such as walking. At the same time, other types of therapy, like occupational therapy will work with the patient to improve independence with activities of daily living such as dressing and hygiene, medication management and ensuring they are confident and safe prior to returning home.
Outpatient programs facilitate the transition period, making it easier for all individuals to stick to a heart-friendly diet and exercising routine. Basically, outpatient programs provide the support and expert guidance that patients need to turn their doctors’ guidelines into the pillars of a healthier way of life. Post cardiac rehab doesn’t exclude doctor visits; on the contrary, during this phase, patients are encouraged to see their specialists as often as possible and seek treatment for existing medical conditions that may expose them to further complications, like elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Phase III: Maintenance Cardiac Rehab
Phase III of a cardiac rehab program includes a supervised exercise program for individuals to independently self-manage their condition, exercise and lifestyle. The goal of this phase is for individuals to continue to maintain their cardiovascular health while being monitored periodically.
Many people of all ages who have heart conditions and/or post-surgical procedures can benefit from a rehabilitation program. At Healthcare Therapy Services, Inc. (HTS), our therapists are specially trained in advanced cardiac recovery protocols used and approved by hospitals and cardiologists. We are the experts in rehabilitation for adults 50+. Our highly experienced clinicians use evidence-based clinical programs to treat cardiac conditions with proven recovery results. Our programs are designed to provide comprehensive, multifaceted treatment and education in order to help recovery and prevent recurrence of heart problems. Contact us for more information: HTS Therapy