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Cardiac Rehabilitation FAQ

1. What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehabilitation services are designed to help patients with heart disease recover faster and return to full and productive lives. Cardiac rehab includes education, counseling, exercise, and learning how to make lifestyle changes to live a healthier life.

2. Who benefits from cardiac rehab?

Almost everyone with heart disease can benefit from some type of cardiac rehab. It is most important if you:

  • Have heart disease, such as angina or have had a heart attack.

  • Have had coronary bypass surgery or a balloon catheter (PTCA) procedure on your heart.

3. Why enroll in cardiac rehab?

Those who have had a heart attack, or angina, are likely to experience it again. It is wise to reduce risk factors for life. Cardiac rehab gets the patient started on this new road. Cardiac rehab helps the patient change lifestyle through: diet training, psychological support, stress reduction, spiritual support, and regular exercised--all in a balanced approach. Maintaining the lifestyle changes brought about through the cardiac rehab program makes the greatest difference to the patientís independence and quality of life.

4. What will cardiac rehab do for me?

Heart disease is the nationís #1 killer. Cardiac rehab can improve the quality of life for those who are at high risk for developing cardiovascular complications or those who have already been diagnosed with any form of heart disease. It is an effective way to help you:

  • feel better faster

  • get stronger

  • reduce stress

  • reduce risk of future heart problems

5. How does the program work?

Cardiac rehabilitation usually occurs in three stages:

Phase I

Phase I begins in the hospital after heart surgery, a heart attack or other treatment. Because Rhea Medical Center does not perform major heart surgery, this stage of your rehab may take place in the hospital where you had your surgery and usually consists of two monitored exercise sessions each day. The program continues in Phase II in an outpatient setting after you have been discharged from the hospital

Phase II

Rhea Medical Centerís outpatient cardiac rehab program begins during this phase and typically begins two to three weeks following hospital discharge. Phase II usually consists of one-hour sessions, three times each week for twelve weeks.  Phase II provides:

  • Medical and cardiac rehabilitation supervision by a physician and registered nurse

  • Entry assessment and evaluation

  • Cardiac risk factor assessment, analysis and counseling

  • Educational sessions to enhance long term-term cardiac health management

  • Individualized progressive and supervised exercise programs

  • Cardiac monitored exercise sessions

  • Individual and group support sessions

Following your doctorís referral to the program, an orientation visit is scheduled and an initial evaluation and health history is completed by the cardiac rehabilitation registered nurse.

Subsequent sessions begin with a warm-up period, followed by an aerobic conditioning period. Patients rotate through exercise stations that include bicycle and arm ergometry, treadmill walking, and stepping. A cool-down and relaxation period follows the exercise session.

Education: Weekly education programs help patients identify potential cardiac risk factors and encourage the reduction of such risks through healthy heart living. Education topics include: stress management, smoking cessation, dietary influences such as cholesterol and sodium reduction, and exercise. Learning to change oneís lifestyle in addition to exercise is equally important.

Encouragement: The cardiac rehabilitation registered nurse is present during all exercise and education programs. Supportive relationships also develop through association with others who have had similar experiences.

Phase III

Phase III, sometimes referred to as ďmaintenance,Ē provides a safe environment for continued exercise after completion of Phase II. Participants attend three days each week for a small monthly fee. The sessions are supervised by a cardiac rehabilitation nurse.

6. How do I get started?

Entry into Rhea Medical Centerís cardiac rehab program (as well as participation in Phase I), begins with a referral from your physician. Rhea Medical Centerís professional staff serves as an extension of the referring physicianís care through continued contact and periodic progress reports.

7. Does insurance cover the program?

In many cases, insurance companies will pay for a portion, if not all, of the programís fees. In most cases, Medicare will cover the costs of the program if the patient had had a previous heart attack, open heart surgery or stable angina. Following physician referral, our insurance representative will contact your insurance carrier and discuss the information with you prior to entry into the program


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Rhea Medical Center | 9400 Rhea County Highway | Dayton, TN 37321
Phone: (423) 775-1121