LIHU‘E — Wilcox Memorial Hospital has opened Kaua‘i’s first Cardiac Rehabilitation program to improve local access to care for patients with heart issues.
In the past, patients were able to have consultations with specialists, but the hospital was limited in what it could provide in cardiovascular rehabilitation and other heart-health related exercise programs in its facilities.
“People on Kaua‘i were just left out,” said Katie Gallo, director of Wilcox Marketing and Communications. “They had no place to go for cardiac rehab after cardiac surgery or interventions.”
The cost to build the program was $123,000 for construction and $80,000 for equipment. Funding to build the program came from the hospital and some foundation money for equipment, she said.
The program created new jobs, including a new registered nurse position to provide oversight during exercises programs.
Common diagnoses or conditions which might benefit from cardiac rehab are: after a heart attack, a diagnosis of stable angina, after open heart surgery, and after angioplasty or stent placement.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a structured program to help patients make changes in lifestyle and learn about the appropriate use of medication after a cardiac event. The program also utilizes exercise treadmills, exercise bikes, cross trainers and free weights.
“Cardiac rehab has broad benefits for heart attack patients, aiding in a speedier and safer recovery,” said Wilcox cardiologist Dr. Andrew So in a press release. “Being able to exercise in a carefully monitored setting allows the patient to recover their function as quickly as possible, knowing that someone is watching over them as they increase their activity.
“Rehab can be the central organizing presence in terms of the risk factor modification such as change in diet, exercise pattern and smoking cessation,” So added.
“In addition, the social setting of cardiac rehab is found to be beneficial for many patients from a psychological standpoint.”
At Wilcox, each cardiac rehab patient will receive a specially designed treatment plan which focuses on their own unique condition and limitations.
Patients start at a comfortable level and progress under the supervision of a cardiologist and cardiac rehab nurse, who will also discuss educational topics such as diet and other healthy habits.
“When patients graduate from the program, we encourage them to follow a custom-designed home exercise program to maintain their conditioning,” So said.
The program is available Monday through Friday in the Cardiac Services Department, located adjacent to the Wilcox Family Imaging Center and across from the Kaua‘i Medical Clinic. Cardiac rehabilitation services are covered by most major insurance carriers and patients must be referred by the Wilcox cardiology team.
The American Heart Association recognized Wilcox Memorial in three areas of excellence in 2009.
It was recognized for treatment on coronary artery disease, stroke and heart failure.
• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or by emailing email@example.com.