By Cassie Mullins, RN, BSN –Sheridan Memorial Hospital Cardiopulmonary Rehab Supervisor
The Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation staff at Sheridan Memorial Hospital are excited to announce the opening of a new rehabilitation space. The 3,000 square-foot facility provides the space and equipment to aid in the treatment of patients with cardiac and pulmonary diseases. The new space allows patients to access an abundance of cardiovascular equipment, including treadmills, recumbent bikes, ellipticals, an arm ergometer as well as a full complement of weight training equipment. With several pieces of seated cardiovascular equipment, we can accommodate patients along a broad spectrum of needs and abilities.
Our compassionate and knowledgeable team of registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and exercise physiologists all set the stage for patients to reach their full potential in this spacious, modern facility located on the lower level of the main hospital building.
We’ve been working on this move for some time and believe the new space will allow us to serve more patients more comfortably.
We have two different programs that work hand in hand – Cardiac Rehab, for those with heart disease, and Pulmonary Rehab, for those with lung disease. We also offer a maintenance program for patients who have completed their sessions but wish to continue using our facility to exercise and have the support of our staff.
Cardiac Rehab is a medically supervised exercise program designed to improve a person’s cardiovascular health if they have experienced a heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery. In cardiac rehab, patients see other people like themselves exercising, socializing, and learning how to manage their heart disease. We monitor heart rate and rhythm with a heart monitor worn during exercise and check vital signs before, during, and after exercise. This information ensures that staff can see how the person’s heart reacts to physical activity in real-time. We work with patients to encourage a slow and safe increase in physical activity. In addition to exercise, at Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s Cardiac Rehab program, we also provide education on cardiac disease, exercise safety, a heart-healthy diet, stress management, and medications.
Pulmonary Rehab is also a supervised education and exercise program designed to help people with chronic lung diseases such as COPD, Pulmonary Fibrosis, and, more recently, those experiencing ongoing breathing issues after a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients in Pulmonary Rehab participate in an exercise program designed to strengthen the muscles involved in breathing and in moving. They also begin an education program focused on learning how to better manage their lung condition.
The Patient’s Perspective
Tom McClain has been in the program since 2019. After completing his cardiac rehab sessions, he has continued to participate in the maintenance program, logging over 200 sessions in the last two years. He has also participated in the educational classes offered to patients in the Pulmonary Rehab program.
Considering himself one of our “regulars,” Tom says: “I come twice a week. Socialization is really important to me – there is a group of us who come at the same time, and it makes exercising fun. We have a lot in common and encourage each other to do our best. I live alone and really look forward to spending time here.”
Tom adds, “What I particularly like about the hospital program is that there is always a nurse who monitors me – taking my blood pressure and checking my oxygen levels as I go about my workout. It’s comforting to have a professional on hand, observing me and making sure I’m doing ok. Besides that, I’m on oxygen, and it is so convenient that I can just plug my oxygen line into the wall as I exercise.”
Tom has seen many changes and likes the new larger space. “Particularly in the pandemic – it’s great that we can spread out. While most of the equipment is the same, there are some new machines I can try out. I have been able to work on strengthening my shoulder in addition to my regular workouts.”
Tom is committed to his health, and exercise is important to him, so committed in fact that he doesn’t just work out at the hospital – he goes to the Y three times a week as well. Going to both the Y and the hospital’s Cardiopulmonary area are just part of his weekly routine.
The Caring Staff
Because our patients come so often, the Cardiopulmonary staff really gets to know each individual. A typical program runs from 18-36 sessions, so we learn a lot about our patients: their likes and dislikes, what they care about, and the goals they have. This also helps us develop a plan together with the patient, to reduce their risk of developing worsening heart disease. It can also help us provide continued encouragement for the individual to accomplish a health goal like quitting smoking. If our patients don’t show up, we call to check on them and encourage them to continue their workouts.
A physician order is required to participate in cardiac or pulmonary rehab. If you have had a heart attack, heart failure, or heart surgery, or if you have a chronic lung condition, ask your doctor if you could be eligible to be enrolled in cardiac or pulmonary rehab. For more information, call Cardiopulmonary Rehab at Sheridan Memorial Hospital 307.672.1062.