Cardiac rehabilitation is the road to recovery for heart patients and it begins immediately after heart surgery or other cardiac care. Most southern Illinoisans will experience some form of cardiac care in their lifetimes. Regaining good health through guided exercise, diet and lifestyle change along with good disease management are important for a successful recovery and a healthy heart. At SIH hospitals, patients get this all-important cardiac rehabilitation from a nationally credentialed program that specializes in cardiac care. The cardiac rehabilitation programs at Herrin Hospital and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital, and the inpatient program at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale all provide the high quality care that helps patients return to an active life.
Cardiovascular pulmonary rehabilitation professionals, including board-certified rehabilitation cardiac nurse specialists, assist individuals with various kinds of heart disease to make the lifestyle changes that are vital to improving heart health. The rehabilitation staff works with the individual patient to develop a plan of care that he or she will find comfortable. This mutual goal setting increases the chance of long-term success.
Cardiac rehabilitation begins during hospitalization with Phase I. This monitored care of hospitalized cardiac patients assists in their recovery and helps them gain strength. Phase II is an outpatient education/exercise program designed to care for patients who have just experienced bypass-surgery, a heart attack, or who have stable angina. After graduating from Phase II, patients enter Phase III, an eight-week to six-month maintenance program. “Our goal is to provide patients with the knowledge to assist them in modifying their risk factors. We give them the tools to change and help support them during the process,” states Diane Fulbright, RN, MSN, BC, Manager of the SIH Cardiovascular-Pulmonary Rehabilitation services. “The support of their family and their attending physician is a major factor to their success.”
Making lifestyle changes such as “kicking the habit” is a great start to a healthier heart. Smoking dramatically increases a person’s risk for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, quitting reduces one’s chances for heart disease, even for long-time smokers. SIH-CVP rehabilitation programs offer a smoking cessation program through a collaborative effort of various health care professionals throughout the SIH system.
The cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs at Herrin Hospital and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital were among the first facilities in the country to receive the highest accreditation possible through the National Certification from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). This certification recognizes those programs that have been reviewed by the national AACVPR board and found to meet the essential requirements for standards of care. The AACVPR is a national, multi-disciplinary association dedicated to the improvement of clinical practice, promotion of scientific inquiry and advancement of education for the benefit of cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation professionals and the patients they serve.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, each year more than 42,000 Illinoisans die from heart disease and annual deaths from CVD have remained virtually unchanged for the last ten years.