Encouraging Rehabilitation for Cardiac Patients
According to HHS.gov, cardiac rehabilitation in an aquatic environment can have numerous benefits. In a recent post, we talked about how to use aquatic therapy for cardiac rehabilitation as well as many of the other benefits aquatic therapy provides for patients and clients. As with most therapy programs, the earlier you can get a patient to safely participate, the better off they will be, in both the short and long-term.
Cardiac rehabilitation is not widely used by those that could benefit from it. We want to share some additional information about cardiac rehabilitation in general.
Facts about cardiac rehab:
- Over 1.3 million U.S. adults with heart disease qualify for cardiac rehabilitation annually
- Only 1 in 4 participate in cardiac rehabilitation
- Those who attend 36 one-hour sessions have a 47% lower risk of death and a 31% lower risk of a future heart attack than those who only attend one session
- Hospital systems save lives with cardiac rehab and can save up to $9,000 per person per year
- If compliant, participation in a cardiac rehab program can reduce hospitalizations
What are barriers to cardiac rehab participation?
- Long wait times to enroll. Participation decreases by 1% for each day the program is not started.
- Transportation is often an issue in addition tothe limited availability of early, evening or weekend program options.
- Reluctance and fear to exercise.
- Lack of confidence that a true commitment can be made to lifestyle changes.
Steps to consider for increased participation:
- Speak to your health care systems and providers to ensure automatic referrals of cardiac patients.
- Prior to discharge, bring in new referrals to increase the comfort and educate on benefits.
- Survey patients to learn the obstacles to participation in your area. This will help identify find possible solutions that you can offer.
- Add staff to assist with language barriers or other challenges in your region.
- Include wellness programs and extended hours to reach a larger population and encourage life-long health habits.
Aquatic therapy is not often considered as a means for cardiac rehab, but it is a safe, relaxing environment for cardiac patients. The benefits of aquatic therapy for cardiac patients are abundant, including decreasing both resting and exercise blood pressure, weight loss, stress reduction, increasing the duration of exercise because of comfort and tolerance and much more. Immersion in water during exercise or rehab helps patients feel more comfortable, particularly at the beginning of a program. It also encourages them to maintain participation safely and confidently until the program has ended. Aquatic therapy is an excellent option for anyone, but particularly those individuals who need to closely manage the strain they put on their bodies in the early stages of rehabilitation.
In case, you missed it, watch our recent webinar, Preparing Medically Complex Patients for Aquatic Therapy>>