New rehab service to help cardiac patients stay out of hospital

St Stephen’s Hospital staff will be on a mission when the Fraser Coast’s new cardiac rehabilitation service is launched on March 1 – they want to prevent cardiac patients from requiring readmission.

General Manager and Director of Clinical Services Amanda Cruwys said there was overwhelming evidence that rehabilitation was an important part of recovery after a heart event.

“Heart Foundation statistics show cardiac rehabilitation can reduce hospital readmissions and death within the first year after a coronary event by as much as 56% and 50% respectively,” Ms Cruwys said.

“With that in mind St Stephen’s is launching new cardiac rehabilitation service next month to help patients to live healthier lifestyles and stay out of hospital after cardiac events.”

UCH Allied Health Manager Nathan ReedyThe new service will be led by UnitingCare Health’s Allied Health Manager Nathan Reedy (left) and Exercise Physiologist Ryan Day.

“Patients are usually quite nervous about returning to exercising after having some sort of cardiac event,” Mr Reedy said.

“Our new service is about supporting them to lead healthy lifestyles and decrease the risk factors of being readmitted. Patients often ask ‘How do I exercise again, what can I do, what can’t I do?’"

Mr Reedy said St Stephen’s cardiac rehabilitation service would be available to people who had been hospitalised with a cardiac event such as coronary artery disease, unstable angina, valve replacements, heart attacks and cardiac failure.

“They have either a two-week or four-week timeframe after discharge in which to start the 12-session rehabilitation program, two days a week for six weeks.

“There’s an initial one-on-one assessment and the same again when at the end. The 10 sessions between involve individualised exercise programs and education sessions, running about 2 hours.

“Half of that is exercise, the other half is education provided by a dietician, pharmacist, occupational therapist, exercise physiologist or nurse.”

Mr Reedy said cardiac patients could start the rolling program at any time.

“The education sessions are not sequential – they can come in at any point, for example you don’t have to be referred and then wait six weeks until the next group starts, you can start straight away.”

St Stephen’s is Australia’s first fully integrated digital hospital and is home to some of the Fraser Coast’s leading specialists in areas such as cardiology, gynaecology, urology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology and general surgery.

The not-for-profit organisation is owned by the Uniting Church and is a member of UnitingCare Health, which includes The Wesley Hospital and St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane and The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital at Buderim.

Also in this section