The cardiac rehab program at Hackensack Meridian Health Pascack Valley Medical Center provides personalized treatment plans and goals for individuals with cardiovascular disease. The program promotes heart health and healthy lifestyle changes through supervised exercise and education, with a focus on how to maintain a healthy weight, heart-healthy eating and how to best monitor lipids and cholesterol.
In recognition of Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, Lillian Tahan, cardiac and pulmonary rehab nurse, is giving insight into how the program works and how patients can benefit from participating.
“In the cardiac rehab program, patients perform exercises while being monitored,” said Tahan. “We check their blood pressure and heart rate before and after they exercise. Exercising under medical supervision at our facility is great for these patients because if they start feeling symptomatic, we can contact their cardiologist. Education is also a major component of the program. Patients can attend lectures and handouts are available for them when more information is needed.”
Individuals with the following diagnoses may be eligible to participate:
- Coronary artery angioplasty or stents
- Open heart surgery such as coronary bypass or valve surgery
- Heart transplantation
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
The benefits of cardiac rehab include:
- Longer lifespan and lessening chances for another cardiac event
- Control heart disease symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath
- Stop and/or reverse damage to blood vessels in the heart
- Lessen physical and emotional effects of heart disease
- Improve stamina and strength
- Improve confidence and well-being
The community that is created in the cardiac rehab program is something patients enjoy. “Patients will oftentimes continue with the program after they have graduated because they love the camaraderie and socialization,” said Tahan. “Patients also enjoy the extra motivation and the accountability that comes with being involved with the program. It’s really a great environment to be in.”
The cardiac rehab team aims to create a fun and enjoyable environment for their patients. “We have a whiteboard where we put up a trivia question or riddle of the day that gets the patients thinking and talking,” said Tahan. “We also like to share meaningful quotes to keep the patients motivated and engaged. Since a healthy diet has such an impact on heart health, our recipe board is another great place for patients to find new dishes to try.”
The cardiac rehab team consists of a nurses and exercise physiologists. They also work closely with the nutritionists and diabetes educators from the Center for Diabetes, Nutrition and Metabolism to provide nutrition and diabetes education for patients. The team looks forward to continuing providing care to the community. “We are excited to keep growing our program and working with our patients,” said Tahan. “Our patients enjoy their time here and often share the benefits of the program with their friends.”
To schedule an appointment or to learn more, call 201-781-1450.