Franciscan Care Center Institutes Area’s First Enhanced Inpatient Cardiac Rehab Program

Posted by: - Wednesday, December 7, 2016

CHI Living Communities Franciscan Care Center on Holland-Sylvania Road has implemented an Enhanced Inpatient Cardiac Rehab program.  Believed to be the first in the area, the program is under the direction of a board-certified cardiologist and is designed to help improve the well-being of individuals who have experienced an acute cardiac event.  A team approach is used to maximize performance, to achieve optimal independence and to get an individual back to their normal lifestyle in the transition from the hospital to home.

Cardiologist Ahed T. Nahhas, MD, FACC, FSCAI, ABVM and Christina Miller, CNP from The Toledo Clinic Department of Cardiology are working with the Franciscan Care Center Cardiac Rehab Team. One advantage of the program is that Dr. Nahhas and Ms. Miller take time from their intense office and hospital schedules to see patients right on the Franciscan Care Center campus.  “We are coming here to make a difference and to improve cardiac care,” said Dr. Nahhas.

According to Dr. Nahhas, he knows of no other program in the area that provides the intense oversite and education that the new Franciscan Care Center Enhanced Inpatient Cardiac Rehab Program provides.

“It’s important after a person experiences an acute cardiac event that the patient and their families implement a healthy lifestyle.  Our Enhanced Inpatient Cardiac Rehab program encourages patients to explore all aspects affecting heart health and get professional support in their recovery as well to help reduce risk factors for future heart problems,” said Jill Schlievert, Administrator of Franciscan Care Center.

Who benefits from cardiac rehabilitation?  People of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, anyone who has had a heart attack, coronary artery bypass, heart valve repair or replacement, stable angina or heart failure.

The Enhanced Inpatient Cardiac Rehab program is geared around cardiac education, development of an exercise program, heart wholesome meals, healthy lifestyle changes, medication management and home safety. Cardiac education is provided by licensed nurses, therapy professionals and nurse practitioners on topics that range from healthy lifestyle changes to stress release. 

Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  Under the guidance of the cardiac program, residents work with Franciscan Care Center Rehabilitation services on physically improving their health through therapy and an exercise program.  Therapists assess and develop an individual’s program based on overall health i.e. high blood pressure or severe heart disease and their physical activity level.  They instruct them how to be active at home, at work and during recreation.

Franciscan Care Center’s registered dietitian sets up a heart healthy meal plan with fresh seasonal products and menus while staying at the center.  But it doesn’t stop there, the dietitian also provides assistance in teaching and training residents how to eat heart healthy when they leave.  Education is provided on diet choices, cooking at home and foods to avoid when eating out.

Medication management is an important of cardiac rehab.  The Cardiac Rehab program works with residents to help them learn to safely administer their own medications as well as advise on what to do should symptoms present themselves.  The clinical team also monitors each resident’s meal for any adverse food and drug interaction.

Another unique part of the program is a home evaluation.  The primary goal of the program is for residents to return back to their home safely with the ability to manage successfully in their home environment.  A home evaluation is performed prior to discharge and recommendations are made as to any equipment or home modifications that may be necessary. Education is provided on how to accomplish common household chores with the use of any adaptive equipment, if required.  Referrals may also be made for temporary home health services or any further outpatient therapy services that may be needed at FCC.

An important part of the cardiac rehab program is patient education.  It goes beyond addressing just the physical needs of the residents but also their emotions and correlating factors.  Discussions range from how to handle stress to facing their personal emotions after a cardiac incident.  It helps residents face issues as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.  It takes into consideration any other correlating health issues a resident may need to consider such as diabetes or being overweight. It strives to address all the related issues.

In addition to seeing residents at bedside at Franciscan Care Center, Dr. Nahhas provides ongoing education for the staff.  “We can impact patient care with this program.  Franciscan Care Center has the right set up, the right people and are committed to the program,” explained Dr. Nahhas.

“Our goal is that over time the lifestyle changes residents make during their stay at Franciscan Care Center will become routine and encourages them to have an active, healthy lifestyle that helps reduce the risk for future heart disease,” explained Ms. Schlievert.