It’s good to know that if you have a heart attack, you can receive much needed care right here at home. Prowers Medical Center is well equipped to handle a heart attack by administering life-saving tPA, stabilizing the patient, and skillfully transferring patients to Colorado Springs or Pueblo for heart surgery. After surgery, the hospital provides cardiac rehab to help heart patients regain strength and return to normal life.
“Regional hospitals have realized that we have a great cardiac rehab program here, and we are getting a lot of referrals. Having cardiac rehab services in town for patients saves them time, money and a long drive,” said Jeanna Warman, CRT, Cardiopulmonary Department Supervisor at Prowers Medical Center. “We are extremely busy and we are providing great outcomes.”
Cardiac rehab is common after a heart attack that results in bypass surgery, stent placement or valve replacement. During a heart attack, the heart muscle is weakened and can be damaged. The goal of cardiac rehab is to strengthen the remaining healthy muscle so people can return to their normal activities and avoid another heart attack. Cardiac-trained nurses help re-teach your heart to accept activity again, making it often stronger than it was before.
“It’s amazing to watch the improvement from when patients come to us to when they leave. At first, they are barely able to get out of a chair, and after a 36-week session some are sprinting on the treadmill,” Warman said.
Cardiac rehab ranges between 8 and 36 weeks, depending on the heart event. Patients come three days a week for one hour each day to attend small group rehab sessions led by a cardiac-trained registered nurse. While working out, patients are monitored via telemetry so nurses can keep a constant eye on heart rate, heart rhythms, oxygen rates, blood pressure and blood glucose levels for diabetics.
“A lot of times we see patients at their worst, coming in to the emergency department after having a heart attack, and then we watch them come full circle and regain their strength, that’s satisfying,” Warman says.
The cardiac rehabilitation gym has a treadmill, arm bike, weights, a step machine and a new seated stair-stepper for those just starting out. Yet, cardiac rehab involves much more than working out to strengthen the heart and body. It involves plenty of education on your heart condition itself and how to best manage and monitor it, including medications. The cardiac team also helps you establish a plan to improve your risk factors, including quitting smoking, eating a heart healthy diet, managing your weight and diabetes, and continuing with an exercise plan after you leave.
“Patients often leave feeling empowered and like they’ve gotten their lives back,” Warman says.
Prowers Medical Center takes a team approach to cardiology care. The certified cardiac rehab nurses have several people to consult with to ensure patients receive high quality care, including two supervising cardiologists—Dr. Gustafson and Dr. Gibson—dieticians, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, and outside specialists. For more information on cardiac rehabilitation at Prowers Medical Center, call 719-336-6731 or visit prowersmedical.com.
“We can offer the same level of cardiac rehab care as any large city,” Warman said. “We’re rural but our healthcare is not.”