The week from February 13th to 19th has been designated as National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, and this will be a time for focusing on the role of cardiac rehabilitation in conjunction with all the potential negative impacts of heart disease. In Hernando and elsewhere around the country, a number of groups will be drawing attention to this vital function within the field of healthcare. Senior home care professionals who provide care for heart patients have a good understanding of how cardiac rehabilitation can help someone recover from the devastating effects of some kind of serious heart disease. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most important aspects of cardiac rehabilitation, and how they can be used to help seniors recover from heart problems.
What exactly is cardiac rehabilitation?
This is a medical service whose sole focus is on reducing any risk of complications for people with known heart conditions. It usually includes educating the patient about a healthy diet, informing them about techniques for stress management, and guiding them through a number of exercises aimed at rebuilding their strength. Cardiac rehabilitation is generally administered by qualified medical personnel, and these professionals are well-trained in the practice of helping patients recover from heart surgery, or from some kind of major heart issue that may have required hospitalization.
The goal of cardiac rehabilitation is to prevent any further issues from occurring and to improve the patient’s quality of life and overall health. It should thus minimize the chances of a return to the hospital for the same kind of heart-related issues. Rehabilitation generally takes place in a hospital rehab center or in a clinic specially set up for such services. A number of different healthcare professionals are usually involved in rehabilitation, including nutritionists, exercise specialists, nurses, and supervisory doctors.
What happens during rehabilitation?
All cardiac rehabilitation programs are set up to take place in a clinic or a hospital rehabilitation center and will require the supervision of a number of healthcare professionals. There are three basic components to cardiac rehabilitation, including each of the following:
- Counseling – counseling helps to reduce stress levels in patients, which is important because stress can have a major impact on a person’s heart health.
- Healthful living education – this kind of training includes managing a number of risk factors, eliminating bad habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and consuming a well-balanced diet.
- Exercise training – physical activity is great for the entire cardiovascular system, and it’s extremely important for helping to maintain a strong and healthy heart. Exercise specialists are generally brought in to match appropriate exercises with a patient’s given physical condition, so they can benefit from the process without straining the limits of their physical capabilities.
Typically, a cardiac rehabilitation program will last about three months, and will generally include between 30 and 40 supervised sessions. Each of these sessions might be quite different, depending on the availability of healthcare personnel, and the patient’s physical capabilities and needs. Throughout the entire rehabilitation course, some kind of healthcare professional will always be monitoring the vital signs in a patient, and checking for any major changes and symptoms. Anyone in such a program will have their heart rate and blood pressure checked frequently, and it may also be necessary to take electrocardiogram readings throughout the process.
Typical cardiac rehabilitation sessions
If you’re wondering what to expect in a typical cardiac rehabilitation session, you can expect it to go something like this. At your first session, a program will be designed that takes into account your medical history, as well as the results of a physical examination or test. A fitness test or heart-imaging scan may also provide information necessary for the development of your personal rehabilitation program. Using all available patient information, a structured exercise plan will then be formulated, and it will begin with light activities, while gradually increasing the intensity over a period of time.
A typical session might involve using a stationary bike, walking or jogging on a treadmill, or possibly using a rowing machine. The goal of any exercise program will be to increase the fitness level of a patient and to slowly improve heart health. While exercising, healthcare professionals will be monitoring your vital signs, and a team of other professionals will be on hand if any other kind of support is necessary. Most sessions will also include some time when the patient gets educated about various aspects of healthy living following their surgery or other treatment for heart issues.
This education may entail mental health counseling, guidance on nutrition and diet, and techniques for dealing with stress. Managing stress is considered to be extremely important for recovering patients, because stress can have a direct impact on heart health, and can make rehabilitation very difficult if not properly managed. In some cases, friends and family members are allowed to participate in the cardiac rehabilitation process, generally to whatever extent healthcare personnel feels is appropriate.