Feb
8
2018

Heart Health Month: Cardio rehab, heart clinic making a difference

Supporting Island families -

You could say that Health PEI’s cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation program is close to Jean-Louis Arsenault’s heart.

Approximately 190 patients like Arsenault have completed cardiac (heart) or pulmonary (lung) rehab since the program began in January 2017. Already offered in Charlottetown and Summerside, the services will expand to Montague this April.

“This program, and more importantly the people here, have given me my life back,” said Arsenault, 53, who completed the program after suffering a cardiac arrest. “I thank them from the bottom of my healing heart.”

As Heart Health Month, February is a reminder to care for our hearts and to learn what services are in place to support our heart health.

 “The cardiopulmonary rehab program is an example of a life-changing service that is important to Islanders and their families, especially to those who have experienced a serious health event like a sudden cardiac arrest,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell said. “Expanding this program to Kings County ensures even more Islanders are receiving the care they need, when they need it, closer to home.”

Preliminary program results – based on clinical outcomes of participants – have been overwhelmingly positive:

  • 92 percent of cardiac and pulmonary rehab patients walk farther on their six minute walk test by the end of rehab and most rate their breathing to be less laboured during exercise as well
  • 79 percent of cardiac rehab patients experienced a reduction in waist circumference, an important measure when assessing risk for cardiovascular disease
  • 74 percent of cardiac rehab patients had a blood pressure within target after completing the program, a 25 percent improvement from pre-cardiac rehab numbers
  • 56 percent of cardiac rehab patients reported reduced rating of anxiety and depression after participating in the program
  •  43 percent of pulmonary rehab patients reported a lower score on the anxiety and depression screening tool
  • 70 percent of pulmonary rehab patients had a blood pressure within target after completing the program, a 25 percent improvement from pre-pulmonary rehab numbers

About 1,200 people each year in Prince Edward Island experience an acute cardiac event, and more than 8,000 live with chronic lung disease. Islanders should talk to their primary care provider about their risk factors for heart or lung disease and how they can prevent experiencing health problems in the future.

“We are seeing tremendously positive and life-changing results in our clients over the course of their rehabilitation,” said Tanya Matthews, registered nurse and provincial cardio-pulmonary rehab program lead. “While we are proud to offer rehabilitation programs that help Islanders with heart and lung disease regain a better quality of life and decrease the likelihood of a future event, primary prevention is still very important.”

The provincial Heart Health Clinic, which opened in 2011, is another service that is helping hundreds of Islanders living with heart disease. The clinic staff helps individuals manage risk factors and side effects associated with heart failure:

  • last year, there were approximately 300 patient visits to the clinic, of which 80 percent were new referrals or follow-up referrals for individuals diagnosed with heart failure; and,
  • the other 20 percent of patient visits were for risk factor reduction support.

The Heart Health Clinic also works with the Remote Patient Monitoring Program to help Islanders with congestive heart failure return home sooner from hospital. It is made possible with the use of technology that allows for daily monitoring and support of trained program nurses. The collaboration has reduced emergency department visits and hospital stays, while increasing patient satisfaction and quality of life.

For more information about chronic disease prevention and management, including risk factors, visit www.healthpei.ca/icdpm.

 

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
ajhamel@gov.pe.ca

 

Backgrounder:

Cardiovascular diseases are those of the heart and circulatory system, and include:

  • coronary artery disease;
  • stroke;
  • congestive heart failure;  and
  • valvular heart disease.

Examples of chronic lung disease include:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • lung cancer;
  • pulmonary fibrosis; and
  • adult asthma.

The four main risk factors for heart disease include: smoking, abnormal cholesterol levels, family history of premature heart disease, and high blood pressure. Other important risk factors include obesity, age, gender, race, diabetes, lack of physical activity, stress, and diet.

Tips for reducing risk factors for heart disease or a heart event:

  • quit smoking;
  • incorporate physical activity into a daily routine;
  • eat a well-balanced diet;
  • incorporate leisure activities to manage stress;
  • take blood pressure and cholesterol medications as prescribed if you are on medication;
  • for individuals with diabetes, it is imperative to keep your blood sugar levels within a normal range;
  • strive to achieve a normal body weight;
  • be as willing to attend to mental health problems like anxiety and depression as you would a physical medical condition; and
  • know the warning signs of a heart attack.

Cardio-pulmonary Rehab Program:

Cardiac Rehabilitation (Cardiac Rehab) is a 12-week program that helps an individual to recover from a heart attack, heart failure or a procedure such as angioplasty, stenting or heart surgery. Cardiac Rehab does not replace medical therapy. It is used with medical therapy to enhance an individual’s recovery and reduce the risk of a future cardiac event. Cardiac rehab may include:

  • A detailed initial assessment of all aspects of you and your health
  • Exercise training supervised by a physiotherapist, registered nurse, and respiratory therapist
  • Education on heart disease and how to manage it
  • Strategies to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease
  • Nutritional counseling by a registered dietitian
  • Other counseling and/or group support

Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a 12-week program that helps improve an individual’s well-being if they have chronic (ongoing) breathing problems. Pulmonary Rehab does not replace medical therapy. It is used with medical therapy to reduce the symptoms of an individual’s ongoing lung condition and improve their overall quality of life. Pulmonary Rehab may include:

  • A detailed initial assessment of all aspects of you and your health
  • Exercise training supervised by a physiotherapist, registered nurse, and respiratory therapist
  • Education on lung diseases and how to manage it
  • Energy conservation techniques
  • Breathing strategies
  • Nutritional counseling by a registered dietitian
  • Other counseling and/or group support

Heart Health Clinic:

The provincial Heart Health Clinic, which started as a pilot program at the QEH in 2010, helps individuals with cardiovascular disease manage risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and side effects associated with heart failure. The clinic’s emphasis is on reducing hospitalization and mortality, while improving overall quality of life. Patients are referred to the clinic by their internal medicine specialist.

Remote Patient Monitoring Program:

Patients in the 12-week program use program-provided equipment to take their vitals daily – weight, blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen levels –and send them electronically to the program nurse. The nurse provides education and self-management support and can make adjustments to the care plan if needed in collaboration with the physician or nurse practitioner.

Remote patient monitoring programs are becoming more common across Canada, supporting individuals living with chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

General Inquiries

Health PEI
16 Garfield Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: (902) 368-6130
Fax: (902) 368-6136

healthpei@gov.pe.ca

Your Health Privacy

Media Inquiries
Phone: (902) 368-6135

Health PEI Board of Directors
Phone: (902) 368-4637

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.

If you are unsure what to do about a health issue or if you need health information, call 8-1-1.

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