Banner Fort Collins Medical Center

WIN 2017

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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13 Rehab for recovery "Even after patients have been correctly and successfully treated for their illness with medication or a procedure, there is overall deconditioning of the entire body in response to illness," says Dr. Brian L. Henry, a cardiologist at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colo. "Ideally, CV [cardiovascular] rehabilitation is the final step in the treatment process to restore patients to their original functional capacity." The diverse care team involved in cardiac rehab often comes as a surprise to patients. Physical therapists, exercise physiologists, cardiac nurses and other experts work together to provide rehab patients with exercise training, nutrition and stress management counseling, smoking cessation assistance, and education on medications and heart-healthy living. Most programs involve three hour-long sessions a week for about 12 weeks. "The key to success is coming regularly and getting in the habit of living a heart-healthy lifestyle," says exercise physiologist and physical therapist Kathy Gibbs, who works with Dr. Henry at North Colorado Medical Center. Gibbs says a typical rehab session might involve nutrition instruction or guidance in meditation or other stress management techniques, followed by stretching, aerobic exercise and a cooldown. "We also make sure patients are managing their medications well and do a monthly review of their progress and goals," she says. In addition, patients always wear heart monitors while exercising so therapists can ensure their safety. "Many patients worry about what sort of activity they can handle after a significant cardiac event," says Dr. Lazar. "Adding activity while on a cardiac monitor allows them to do more, faster." Prehab pointers Cardiac prehab patients undergo a formal program similar to rehab, except that it takes place before cardiac surgery. "In large programs, patients may meet in groups where they discuss upcoming surgeries, and when wait times are long, undergo prehab," says Dr. Lazar. "At medium-sized programs like ours, patients have short wait times before intervention but are encouraged to remain active. Patients who are not yet ready for surgery can join in sessions with our rehab patients." Cardiac rehab health perks " The key to success is coming regularly and getting in the habit of living a heart-healthy lifestyle." Kathy Gibbs, exercise physiologist and physical therapist, North Colorado Medical Center, Greeley, Colo. Research from the University of Ottawa (Canada) Heart Institute shows that cardiac rehab reduces a patient's risk of death from heart disease by 31 percent, and the risk of death from all causes by 27 percent. Other health benefits include: • Improved cholesterol, blood pressure, overall health and quality of life • Increased ability to exercise and to cope with stress, anxiety and depression • Increased likelihood of quitting smoking • Reduced angina pain and heart disease progression • Reduced need for cardiac medications • Lower risk for further disability, emergency department visits and hospital readmission

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