Physical Therapy and Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

Rehab is Good for the Heart!

Rehab is Good for your HeartCardiovascular disease accounted for about 53% of all U.S. hospital readmissions from 2007-2009, according to a study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association”.  This trend continues even as provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begin cutting Medicare reimbursements to hospitals with higher than expected readmission rates.  Since most readmissions occur within 15 days of a hospitalization, focus must necessarily shift to post-discharge care.  For patients with chronic conditions, such as COPD, this might mean more aggressive monitoring of vital signs.  This can increase early detection of any deterioration, which can then be managed at home and/or in the doctor’s office. There is a growing body of evidence that rehab is beneficial for both chronic sufferers as well as single incident patients, such as post cardiac surgery.  However, despite its proven effectiveness, cardiac/pulmonary rehab remains under-prescribed and underused.

Just increasing the rate at which rehab is prescribed will not be enough to bring down mortality rates and reduce readmissions .  Many patients are seemingly unaware that these programs can significantly increase their lifespan.  It is why participation is a bleak 10-20%, even when rehab is prescribed.  Rehab professionals, especially Physical Therapists, have a unique role to play in changing that figure by educating their clients and encouraging compliance. Trust between therapist and client must be built over time for the therapeutic benefits to be realized.  Recognizing that trust and compliance go hand in hand, Medicare has expanded the number of rehab sessions available to post-surgical and heart attack clients. With a trending younger demographic of cardiovascular disease patients, the rest of the healthcare system will likely follow suit.

Successful cardiac rehabilitation does not begin and end with the therapy session.  The ability to motivate a patient into making necessary lifestyle changes that impact both the quantity and quality of life, suggests that cardiac rehabilitation should become the norm and not the exception.  If you are a PT, Rehabilitation Manager, RN or Nurse Manager looking to make that kind of impact in a patient’s life contact Centra and we will make your “heartfelt” desire come true.

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