Cardiac rehabilitation should be a lifelong process, since the very best heart medicine on the market is a daily dose of exercise.
In medical settings, cardiac rehab is generally referred to as having three phases.
Phase 1 is an inpatient stay for patients coming right out of surgery, usually after a valve replacement or repair, bypass surgery, heart transplant, stent placement chest pain or a heart attack.
The next step is called Phase 2. In Phase 2, patients exercise for an hour three times a week for a period of 12 weeks. They wear monitors during exercise and their vital signs are closely observed since for many, this is the first routine exercise in years. This 12-week program is covered by Medicare and most other insurance and is considered a critical and necessary component in the recuperation process. In addition to exercise, there is counseling on diet and healthy behaviors such as smoking cessation, not to mention the support and encouragement of others who are sharing the same experience.
At the end of 12 weeks, stronger and with greater endurance and energy than they could have imagined, cardiac rehab patients are ready for Phase 3 (pictured above).
Ronn Franceschini, Director of Cardiac Services and John DeFeo, Senior Exercise Specialist and their team oversee the cardiac rehabilitation program at Bacharach.
Ronn described Phase 3, saying, “Cardiac Phase 3 rehab is for patients who have reached their goals and have been discharged from the Phase 2 program. Cardiac Rehab Phase 3 allows us to monitor individuals in a fully staffed hospital-based outpatient program while they continue to exercise.”
Patients come in for a one-hour workout on Tuesday and Thursday and every other Saturday for a total of 10 days per month.Their heart rate and blood pressure are monitored and recorded before and after they exercise and, on occasion, they will be reevaluated using telemetry monitoring. Ronn shared, “We focus on cardiovascular and resistance exercises such as treadmills, bicycles, rowing machines and some weight training.”
In a stroke of luck, Atlantic County’s Office of Intergenerational Services has provided a $20,000 grant to Bacharach’s Cardiac Phase 3 patients who meet age, residential and financial criteria. While the $45 per month fee is less than that of many fitness centers, most qualifying seniors are delighted that the county will pick up the tab for three months of Phase 3.
John feels the grant support is motivating people to participate in the Phase 3 program, saying, “It is a real incentive as it helps those on a fixed income by giving them a break from a few monthly payments.”
Both Ronn and John are pleased with the results. Ron said, “Our patients are extremely happy. The county’s grant program encourages them to take advantage of the three months of free exercise.” When the program is over, people can continue their exercise program at Bacharach at a reasonable rate or a Bacharach therapist will consult with a local gym to develop an individualized exercise program.
For more information on Bacharach’s Phase 3 Cardiac Rehab Program, please call (609) 748-2091.