Rebuilding Active Lives
Upper Valley Medical Center’s CardioPulmonary Rehabilitation program helps patients learn how to deal with a heart or lung condition while pursuing the healthy, active lifestyle. And they can do it close to home. UVMC Cardiac Rehabilitation combines safe, carefully monitored exercise, education and counseling in a program tailored to the needs of the individual. The program is designed for those who have experienced cardiac disease, heart attack, angioplasty, pacemaker or ICD insertion, or open-heart surgery.
Many community members have participated in the rehabilitation program since it opened its doors in 1985. The initial phase of the program lasts 8 to 12 weeks for cardiac patients and 6 to 10 weeks for pulmonary patients. This follows a hospital stay for treatment of the patient’s condition, an introduction to education and some exercise.
On the first day, the patient sits down with the nurse for an interview reviewing family history, identifying risk factors and goals, and checking their medicines. The patient has a physical and is checked on a heart monitor. The rehab team works with patients to review risk factors such as diet, weight and stress management, smoking cessation and types of exercises needed for the heart. Spouses usually attend education sessions.
“We are about educating our patients and explaining what they can do to prevent further problems. We help them gain their control back. Their goals are our goals,” said Tami Maniaci McMillan, lead nurse for cardiac rehabilitation at UVMC.
“My job is to reassure them,” she said. “Obviously, I don’t have a crystal ball, but can reassure them that they will be OK and are safe here. It is kind of their second chance in life to change things.”
The program has seen patients as young as 21 to those in their 90s. “They have the benefit of having qualified people with advanced certifications on staff, a physician who responds to the program and, if needed, the emergency department is just down the hall,” McMillan said.
Duane Bachman of Piqua began the cardiac rehab program after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure and subsequently going into cardiac arrest. “This is a great program run by fabulous people.” Bachman said. “It is a very informal environment out there. It is like being in a service club that meets three times a week,” he said. “I am never in a hurry to go home. “
The cardiopulmonary department at UVMC has the exercise equipment, said Jean Heath, director of UVMC Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitaion. “It is nice to know we have on our staff certified, advanced cardiac life support nurses, exercise physiologists, clinical dieticians, a diabetes nurse educator, chaplain, and a pharmacist and psychologist are available,” Heath said.