After a cardiac event (heart attack, heart surgery, or heart diseases), you will require proper recovery. Cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab) is a medically supervised outpatient program that has been designed to offer the help needed to reverse the limitations patients experience after a cardiac event.

Cardiac rehab comprises the following parts:

  • Exercise Training – Exercise ensures your heart and the entire cardiovascular system are working as they should. Your team will suggest cardiac rehabilitation program exercises that will improve your physical health and cardiovascular fitness.
  • Emotional Support Cardiac rehab includes counseling sessions designed to equip you with ways to identify and manage stress and improve your mental health.
  • Lifestyle Education This part explores your risk factors and teaches you how to manage them. It mostly includes education about healthy living.

At the end of the day, these parts aim to achieve the following (These goals also count as the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation):

  • Help you regain strength and go back to your usual activities.
  • Prevent your condition from becoming worse.
  • Minimise your risk of future heart complications.
  • Make your health better and improve the quality of your life.
  • Educate you about your health condition and treatment.

Who Is Eligible for Cardiac Rehab?

Any person who has suffered a heart attack, undergone heart surgery or experienced cardiovascular complications can benefit from this program. That includes those with mild, moderate, or serious heart problems; children and adults; and both men and women.

Understandably, some people have complications that require either of the cardiac rehab parts to be dropped or be done differently. Examples include arthritis. But this should not be an obstacle because cardiac rehab is a customised program that can accommodate anyone regardless of their other conditions. Usually, there’s a team that will assess your condition and then provide an individualised treatment plan (ITP) complete with all the cardiac rehabilitation phases.

But before enrolling for this program, please speak to your doctor so as to know the appropriate time to start.

Where Do I Get This Service?

Cardiac rehab can be carried out at a health facility (medical or rehabilitation centre) or at the patient’s home. Depending on your condition, the rehabilitation could begin while you are still hospitalised or after you leave the health facility.  Usually, it includes about 36 sessions that last over a period of three months. Sometimes it could go beyond that, depending on your condition.

Some of the ways the program will be conducted include:

  • Face to face.
  • Via the internet.
  • Over telephone.
  • One-on-one or in a group.

If you are in need of cardiac rehabilitation in Sydney, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor. Since it takes team effort to carry out this program successfully, there will be people ready to help you go through it. In addition to the doctors, expect nurses, pharmacists, a physical therapist, a dietician/nutritionist, exercise physiologists, and of course, your family and friends.

There are numerous insurance plans, including private health cover, that could give you access to the cardiac rehab program. Some of the options you may want to consider include medicare (although you might have to wait a bit longer to access the services), medibank, nib, etc. Here’s a map of the cardiac rehabilitation centres across Australia.