As the nation observes “American Heart Month” in February, Mercy Cardiac Rehabilitation is celebrating 10 years of caring for the hearts of southeast Kansas.
Mercy’s cardiac rehab service opened in December 2004 to provide rehabilitation treatments to patients who’ve experienced significant heart health issues, such as heart attack, bypass surgery, stent placement, stable angina or heart valve repair/replacement. Cardiac rehab assists patients with their recovery in a phased program of monitored exercise, nutrition counseling and lifestyle education.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans,” explained Michele Foreman, RN, BSN, coordinator of Mercy Cardiac Rehab. “Fortunately, I have the opportunity to work with the survivors and help strengthen their hearts to prevent future emergencies and help them live longer, better quality lives.”
In the 10 years since opening, more than 800 patient visits have been completed at Mercy Cardiac Rehab, which is located on the lower level of Mercy Clinic Primary Care, 800 W. Laurel. Foreman serves as the nurse coordinator for the program and provides the daily, hands-on care to the patients. Dr. Anne Hogsett, internal medicine physician, serves as medical director, conducting intake and exit examinations with patients and supervising their progress in their six- to 12-week rehab programs.
Patients are typically referred to cardiac rehab by their primary care providers or cardiologists, Foreman said, and the program is covered by Medicare and most private insurances for their beneficiaries who have experienced one of the above-mentioned cardiac events.
In sessions offered multiple times per week, patients utilize stationary bikes or treadmills to gradually increase their exercise tolerance and rebuild their physical stamina. Each patient’s vital signs are closely monitored during the sessions, and their exercise plans are designed to build a foundation for healthy habits they can maintain after “graduation” from the program, Foreman explained.
Foreman also serves as a certified smoking cessation counselor, and offers her patients education on healthy eating and stress management.
“When patients come to me, they have typically experienced a life-changing close call and they understand they must make some real adjustments to maintain their health for years to come,” Foreman said.
“I love my job, and get really attached to my patients. But I also celebrate with them at the end of their rehab, and I feel good knowing they’re ready to take on the world again.”
More information on Mercy Cardiac Rehab services is available by calling 620-330-8248.