Ronn Franceschini and Lisa Thompson are members of the cardiac rehab team at Bacharach
Following a cardiac issue such as a heart attack, angioplasty or heart surgery, it’s common for cardiac patients to face a set of challenges – from fatigue to loss of mobility and more. Cardiac rehab is a critical next step in helping individuals get back on the road to recovery.
Bacharach’s highly acclaimed Phase II Cardiac Rehabilitation service is prescribed for those recovering from a cardiac issue and other conditions, upon release from the hospital. The program is designed to strengthen the heart, lungs and overall condition, helping patients resume normal activities.
The supervised outpatient program of monitored exercise therapy consists of three hours of therapy per week for 12 weeks. The therapy utilizes treadmills, bicycles, rowing, arm ergometers, stair machines and weights while the patient’s vital signs and symptoms are being monitored. Throughout the program, a therapist provides extensive education on risk factors, behavior and nutrition and tracks overall progress.
Expert Cardiac Care
Ron Franceschini, M.Ed. CSCS, Director of Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Services and Emergency Management for Bacharach, who has been working in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation for over 25 years, sees the benefits of cardiac rehab firsthand.
“The benefits of cardiac rehab are impressive. Research indicates a 47 percent lower risk of death for patients who complete a 12-week therapy session following hospitalization over a
5-year follow up period, compared to those who only attended one session. It’s startling that in the U.S., only 20 to 30 percent of patients are referred to cardiac rehab.”
Be Your Own Advocate
Ron adds that cardiac rehab is driven by community awareness and if a doctor doesn’t prescribe it, the patient must demand it. “They have the right to advocate for themselves,” stresses Ron.
A case in point is James Lewis, 64, a retired police captain who served Egg Harbor Township for 27 years.
After suffering a burning sensation in his chest, James was admitted to the ER where he underwent double bypass surgery and spent the next 14 days in hospital.
“Originally, I wasn’t going to go through cardiac rehab, but after talking with people about the benefits of it, I decided to give it a chance,” says James. “I knew about Bacharach because of its great reputation in the community, and it was close by to my home, so I enrolled in their program.”
At Bacharach, treatment is based on a physical and mental evaluation and recommendations from a physician. From there, the Exercise Specialist/Physiologist determines a patient’s work level and other factors they should be monitoring closely, like blood pressure, glucose levels and heart rate.
“Typically, we start with cardio cross-training, then mid-way through the program, we’ll introduce weight training. Throughout the entire process, we talk about medication, diet, stress management and even smoking cessation if needed,” says Ron.
For James, cardiac rehab was just what he needed to set limitations for himself.
“I had always gone to the gym and volunteered in my community before my surgery, and after I tried to keep up with those activities, but I wasn’t ready”,” says James. “Bacharach really helped me distinguish what I can and can’t do, both physically and mentally.”
Bacharach’s program isn’t just all work and no play.
“We try to foster a nice relationship with our patients,” says Ron, “and make treatment as fun as possible and to keep things light.”
James can attest to that positive environment.
“Everyone at Bacharach is fantastic. I’ve gotten to form relationships with everybody on the floor. They’re all extremely knowledgeable and have made my rehabilitation such a great learning experience,” says James.
The goal of Bacharach’s program is for patients to be headed in the right direction after
“We know your medicine, your attitude and your progress. If the patient isn’t moving in the right direction, we contact the cardiologist and adjust the treatment program as needed,” says Ron.
As James is nearing completion of the program, he’s certainly on the right path.
“After my surgery, I couldn’t even lift five pounds. Now, I’m back to doing nearly everything. In fact, I just brought the Christmas decorations down from the attic,” he says.
To learn more about Bacharach Phase II Cardiac Rehabilitation, visit https://www.bacharach.org/services/cardiac-rehab/
To learn more about Bacharach’s Ruth Newman Shapiro Cardiac Rehab Center or EECP, please call 609-748-2091.