Cardiac rehabilitation is an outpatient treatment option for patients recovering from a recent cardiac (heart) condition. Patients are advised to participate in specialized programs that last for three months or longer. These programs may allow patients to repair cardiovascular health and to prevent risk of heart disease. Physical activity, dietary adjustments, and stress management are all components of a typical cardiac rehabilitation program.
Cardiac rehabilitation specialists evaluate, educate, and support patients through the completion of the rehabilitative program. Cardiac rehabilitation specialists may collaborate with cardiologists, nutritionists, and physical therapists (among others) to form a care team that develops and directs patients' rehabilitative programs. The following conditions may require cardiac rehabilitation:
The process of cardiac rehabilitation begins with an evaluation by the cardiac rehabilitation specialist, who measures patients' vital signs, range of motion, physical strength, and mobility. This assessment may occur when a patient is still in hospital care. Following hospital discharge, a rehabilitation regimen may be assigned which sets specific goals and routine tasks. Cardiac rehabilitation may involve:
Cardiac rehabilitation specialists also educate patients and their families on the proper usage of assistive devices (such as a walker or cane) and oxygen therapy equipment, as well on performing post-surgical care. Cardiac rehabilitation specialists possess a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, nursing, or a related field, as well as additional training in cardiac rehabilitation.