July 23, 2008

Heart Education Also Vital

Exercise is only part of the healing process for heart patients.

There is also a need for advice and support, which is provided by Manawatu health services.

Cardiac rehabilitation nurse specialist Adrienne Kennedy says there are three phases of cardiac rehabilitation.

The first phase is inpatient rehabilitation.

During this phase, patients and their families are educated in heart disease.

Phase two involves working with groups of outpatients in education sessions. Seven different topics are dealt with - nutrition, emotional well-being, medication, emergency at home and CPR instruction, stress management and relaxation, understanding heart disease and exercise guidelines.

The classes, which are repeated throughout the year, are held at Palmerston North Hospital's education centre.

Adrienne says those attending these sessions say they get a lot out of them.

Some complete all seven sessions, and some take the entire course two or three times.

"They say they pick up new information every time they go."

The classes also provide an opportunity for people to support each other.

Adrienne says they get to talk to others with similar problems.

Phase three of rehabilitation is long-term management of heart disease, which can include exercise sessions such as those at CLM's Cardiac Club.

Adrienne says many heart patients don't realise the benefits of exercising.

"It does make a difference."

Manawatu Primary Health Organisation manager Nicky Hart says its role is to get hearts healthy again, and it provides one-on-one care through its cardiac service.

The nurses can speak to patients in their own homes, at Palmerston North Hospital, at their doctor's rooms or at Compass Health.

Cardiac nurse Folole Fai says nurses meet patients and discuss any cardiac event they have experienced.

They help with smoking cessation and give dietary advice. They also work with people who have had surgery, who are at high risk or who are awaiting surgery.

The frequency with which they see patients depends on their condition.

"If they are unstable and unwell and need support, we see them more frequently."

(c) 2008 Evening Standard; Palmerston North, New Zealand. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.