Cardiac rehab provides the personalised support people need to manage health after a cardiac event.
Surprisingly, just 50% of eligible patients take advantage of cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation programmes across the UK. These are free NHS programmes, delivered by healthcare professionals to BACPR (British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation) standards. They aim to empower people who have experienced a cardiac event to manage their condition through better knowledge and exercise.
Support through cardiac rehab
Karen Molloy has had two heart attacks, the first of which was at age 40. “It was a total shock and a life-altering experience, physically and mentally. I was not in a particularly high-risk group.” Leading a busy life as a working mother, Molloy benefited from access to cardiac rehab. “Everybody has different experiences after cardiac events, but rehab gives you the opportunity to rebalance and use the support from experienced professionals to gain the knowledge you require.”
What the programme offers
Programmes include an educational component where patients are given information about how best to change behaviours to adopt healthier lifestyles. They also include advice on risk factors and medicines, along with supervised or home exercise sessions. Patients who attend rehab are less likely to experience a recurrence or drift away from using medication.
Molloy benefited from learning about approaches to making small changes, such as in diet and exercise — including supervised physiotherapy sessions. She also learnt about the medical side, including the imperative to keep taking medicines. “Above all, I benefited from the emotional support of talking to experts because, as you get back to normal life after a heart scare, you are worried about the future. The process helped me to recalibrate and rebalance.”
Cardiac support from professionals
Molloy urges people who have had cardiac incidents — particularly, women who may not feel they have time in their busy lives — to access cardiac rehab. “Everyone needs a reset after a cardiac incident. If you start researching things on your own, you will get confused and worried. Cardiac rehab assimilates advice through professionals who direct you where to go.”