PINEHURST — The FirstHealth of the Carolinas cardiac rehabilitation programs in Pinehurst and Rockingham have been re-certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
This recognition acknowledges the commitment of both programs to improving the quality of life of patients with cardiovascular problems through enhanced standards of care.
Cardiac rehabilitation programs are designed to help people with such conditions as angina, heart attack and congestive heart failure and those who have had angioplasty or valve or bypass surgery recover faster. The program includes exercise, education, counseling and patient and family support.
The FirstHealth cardiac rehabilitation program in Pinehurst was first certified in 2009, and the Richmond County program has been certified since 2003.
“We help change lifestyles through intervention,” said program director Jean Loflin, registered nurse. “Heart disease is progressive, and our secondary prevention program increases our patients’ chance of survival. Numerous studies have reported that cardiac rehab is associated with reduced mortality after a heart attack, and a new study out of the Mayo Clinic showed a significant reduction in mortality among patients who participated in cardiac rehab after having a stent. These findings add support to published clinical practice guidelines and performance measures that recommend cardiac rehab for patients with recent cardiovascular interventions.”
According to Betsy Young, coordinator of FirstHealth Cardiac Rehabilitation in Richmond County, more people are living with heart disease than ever before, many of them because of the assistance of a cardiac rehab program.
“Finding a way back to health and happiness after a heart event can be the biggest challenge patients have ever faced,” Young said. “Cardiac rehab can help them recover quicker and with more self-confidence, control and improved quality of life. Our patients tell us they feel respected, encouraged, safe, healthier and happier in cardiac rehab. When they finish the program, most of them feel better than they have in years — even if they have had a heart attack or surgery.”
During 36 cardiac rehab sessions, FirstHealth patients are individually case-managed in guided exercise training that increases functional ability in a psychosocial group atmosphere. Additional program benefits include improved adherence to prescribed medication, reduced hospital re-admissions and the enhanced ability to perform daily or leisure activities.
To earn the certification, the FirstHealth programs participated in an application process that required extensive documentation of their practices. Each program was reviewed by the AACVPR Program Certification Committee, and certification was awarded by the AACVPR Board of Directors.
FirstHealth Cardiac Rehabilitation programs are located at FirstHealth Fitness-Pinehurst and FirstHealth Fitness-Richmond. For more information, visit www.firsthealth.org/cardiacrehab.
Brenda Bouser works in marketing and communications for FirstHealth of the Carolinas.