After a cardiac event, the cardiology rehabilitation team at Prowers Medical Center is ready to work with you to strengthen your heart and get you up and moving. 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,” says Jeanna Warman, CRT, Cardiopulmonary Department Supervisor at Prowers Medical Center.
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 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. Many continue with an exercise program such as the Silver Sneakers Club. We do everything we can to get our patients physically healthier than they were before,” Warman says.
Prowers Medical Center takes a team approach to cardiology care. The 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 providers.
“Our cardiologists have a great rapport with patients and work really well with our team to make sure patients have their needs met and receive the best care,” Warman says.
Many patients choose to get surgery at a larger hospital, then return home for cardiac rehab. It’s not only convenient, its more personal and without any sacrifice in quality. Patients say they appreciate the individual attention and are grateful to have a relaxed environment where they can get their questions answered and their needs met.
“We’re rural but our healthcare is not. We have a much more extensive cardiology program than people in town realize,” concludes Warman. For more information on cardiac rehabilitation at Prowers Medical Center, call 719-336-6731 or visit prowersmedical.com