Cardiac Rehabilitation Program begins at Jesup’s Wayne Memorial Hospital

Seeing the need for a cardiac rehabilitation program for area residents, Wayne Memorial Hospital launched theirs earlier this month. Doctor of Physical Therapy Nick Rex shared the reasoning. “We noticed that a couple of years ago, our department was regularly called by the public inquiring about a cardiac rehab program. Their physicians had recommended a program and the patients were hoping to stay local. Before now, those patients had to travel out of town for weeks at a time to complete that treatment. Now that we have one here, those patients do have a local option.” Most patients in a cardiac rehab program will complete around 36 visits over a 3- month time period to receive treatment, Rex explained. And some may need to go longer.

There’s an extensive list of criteria to set up a cardiac rehab program including having a supervising physician in-house. Cardiologist Gary Stern, MD, serves as the program’s Medical Director. There are also criteria to be met by a patient to be eligible, including being referred by their family physician or cardiologist. According to the CDC, about 800,000 people in the United States have a heart attack every year. About 1 in 4 of those people already had a heart attack. Cardiac rehabilitation not only can help a person recover from a heart problem but can also prevent future heart problems. Studies have found that cardiac rehabilitation helps men and women, people of all ages, and people with mild, moderate, and severe heart problems, the CDC states on their website.

Rex says that other conditions of the heart may create eligibility for the program including heart failure or other heart problems that required surgery or medical care. The rehab team, after meeting with the patient and evaluating the individual, will devise a program best suited to improve that patient’s heart health state. That program may involve spending time on a seated elliptical machine, seated bike, upper body ergometer (UBE), or traditional treadmill.

While the cardiac rehab room is full of exercise equipment that focuses on physical therapy, patients can also expect to learn about nutritional and lifestyle changes to improve their heart health during their visits. Patients are monitored by medical personnel during their exercise and telemetry in the cardiac rehab room as well as duplicated telemetry in the neighboring ICU Department. Rex adds that this monitoring aspect of the program seems to place patients at ease. Additionally, water and juices are also available to patients. Rex shares that patients need to be eligible and referred by their physician to begin the program. Many patients in the Southeastern United States and Southeast Georgia are likely eligible and may not be aware of their eligibility.