Intermountain Healthcare

Charting a Path to Recovery After Experiencing Heart or Pulmonary Episode


St. George, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 02/25/2021 --In the aftermath of a major cardiac or pulmonary/respiratory event, two emotions are likely present: Relief at having survived the episode and feeling overwhelmed by what comes next in your recovery.

The Cardiac Pulmonary Rehab Program at Intermountain St. George and Cedar City Regional Hospitals in Utah are here to celebrate and help you get through this experience.

"We break down barriers of anxiety and fear with exercise and education," said Joshua Englebright, exercise physiologist and manager for the Cardiac Pulmonary Rehab Program at St. George Hospital. "We want them to feel like they can really do it."

As a referral-based program requiring a medical order, the Cardiac Pulmonary Rehab Program offers an in-patient and outpatient rehabilitation program in a hospital setting for all patients following a cardiac event or those dealing with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or restrictive lung diseases.

Working with patients who range in age, as well as activity level, the program for recovery is based on each individual's needs and capabilities pre- and post-surgery. But one thing is true across the board — this is a program where patients get out of it what they are willing to put in.

According to the American Heart Association and the Harvard Letter of 2010, patients who participated in cardiac rehab showed a 26 percent lower risk of death, a 63 percent reduction in depressive symptoms, and were 31 percent less likely to be readmitted to the hospital.

"This is such a tremendous asset in our community," Englebright said. "It helps patients heal appropriately and gives them confidence that they can have the support of a program that will help them live the best life they can."

The program includes exercise and physical therapy that is closely monitored by a physician, with EKG offered while they exercise so the staff knows each individual's rhythm.

"We give them guidelines for the appropriate amount of exercise," Englebright said. "People tend to either overdo or underdo their exercise after a cardiac event."

In addition, the program focuses on a real, doable nutrition plan that emphasizes healthy cardiovascular eating, plus weekly educational classes on nutrition and other cardiac risk factors.

Patients can also engage in a support group, and even maintenance exercise classes once they have completed the program.

"We invite family members to be part of the support group and the education classes," Englebright said. "We are trying to focus on the caregiver being part of their team and exercise support."

Currently with COVID-19 restrictions in place, the support group and educational classes are taking place online, but patients are able to attend physical therapy in person.

One of the major benefits to a program like this are all the medical experts working together toward each patient's care.

"We're in the hospital, so if a patient comes in to see us and they need a change in medication or have a problem we can call the physician or physician's assistant and they can change the prescription right away," Englebright said. "It's not just a place to come exercise. It's like an extra clinic or an extra intervention where we manage patient care without the cost of going to the emergency room."

Ultimately the Intermountain Cardiac Pulmonary Rehab team is there to support each patient's individual motivation and ongoing recovery.

"If people focus on nutrition, exercise and wellness, they can improve and be happier," Englebright said.

For more information on Cardiac Rehabilitation in St. George, click here.

About St. George Regional Hospital
St. George Regional Hospital and Cedar City Hospital are part of Intermountain Healthcare, a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs.