Each year in February, we celebrate National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week to draw attention to the role of cardiac rehab in reducing the potentially devastating effects of heart disease. In Sheridan, we are lucky to have many exceptional services to support heart health, from the cardiology team at the Heart Center, to our Cardiac Catheterization Lab and state-of-the-art ICU at Sheridan Memorial Hospital. After having a heart attack, being diagnosed with heart failure, or after a heart procedure like a coronary artery bypass, coronary stent placement, or valve replacement, Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s nationally accredited Cardiopulmonary Rehab program provides support to help you recover.
Checking in on Tom McClain, Cardiopulmonary Rehab patient
Just over a year ago, we told you about Tom McClain, who has been in the SMH Cardiopulmonary Rehab program since 2019. We thought we would check in on him and learned that he continues to participate in the maintenance program, now logging over 320 sessions over the last three years!
Tom says that since we last talked to him, he had cardiac ablation, a procedure to block his heart from producing irregular or abnormal rhythms, and also had his pacemaker replaced.
He is very grateful to have the program and the beautiful space to work out in. “This is a safe place for cardiac and pulmonary patients, and that’s why I come here. It makes me feel better, and it’s not hard to make myself come because there are people here who are expecting me. Coming to exercise here is just part of my weekly routine.”
He still considers himself one of our “regulars,” saying: “I come twice a week. Socialization is really important to me – there are three 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.”
“What I particularly like about the hospital program is that there is always a nurse or staff member 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 adds.
He has also participated in the educational classes offered to patients in the Pulmonary Rehab program.
According to Cassie Mullins, RN, SMH Cardiopulmonary Rehab Supervisor, “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.”
More about the program
Our Cardiac Rehab program has two phases. The first phase of cardiac rehab is the monitored exercise phase. During this time, your doctor can order up to 36 closely monitored exercise sessions for you to complete. We encourage our patients to work up to exercising 3 times a week with us. After graduating from the monitored exercise program, we encourage our patients to continue to exercise! During the maintenance phase, we provide the opportunity for our patients to continue exercising in our gym with less monitoring. The ultimate goal is for our patients to feel safe and confident participating in whatever kind of exercise they enjoy, whether in a cardiac rehab setting, at home, or in the community.
If you have had a heart attack, heart failure, or a heart procedure, ask your doctor if you could be eligible to be enrolled in cardiac rehab. For more information, call Cardiopulmonary Rehab at Sheridan Memorial Hospital at 307.672.1062.