Staff at the Barnsley cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation service are to reap the benefits of new equipment after a donation from a former patient.
While on holiday in Australia, Ernest Hopkinson suffered a heart attack and was required to undergo a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) at a Brisbane hospital. When he returned to the UK he was referred to the Barnsley cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation service. The service provides a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to rehabilitate patients who have experienced a cardiac event.
The aim of cardiac rehabilitation is to help a person to recover through exercise to get back to as full a life as possible after a cardiac event such as a heart attack, or after having a treatment such as coronary bypass surgery. It also aims to help promote health and keep people well after they go home from hospital.
Ernest attended rehabilitation sessions at the Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre in Cudworth, for three months and found they made a huge difference to his health and wellbeing. The intensity of exercise performed was measured against a scale known as the rate of perceived exertion and was maintained to a comfortable level throughout the three months. The heart rate is also monitored and a target heart rate is established to work to during exercising. This is increased monthly. Other measures such as the distance covered or the amount of calories burned are also used as a good way of showing the patient that they are improving over time.
Speaking about his time with the service Ernie said, "I can’t praise the cardiac rehab team enough for the work they did with me and the care they provide. Not only did they get me up and active again but they also got me out of the house and meeting new people. It was very reassuring for my wife to know there was such a caring service looking after me and helping me get back on track."
To show his appreciation for the care received Ernie turned to his local Freemasons to see if they could offer any support to the service via a donation. The money received will be used to buy specialist software that provides instructions and pictures of exercises for patients to follow during their rehabilitation. The ‘physio tools package’ offers an easy to follow guide for people given prescriptive exercises without having to rely on remembering a long list of information from staff. This also means staff can be reassured that patients are able to safely follow exercises safely and effectively. The team were presented with a cheque to be used to purchase the software.
Physiotherapist Bob Darwin said, "We really appreciate the donation made and know it will help lots of other people who need to use the cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation service."
What is involved in a rehabilitation session?
A rehabilitation programme usually involves going to a session lasting about one or two hours, once or twice a week for around 2-3 months. Some programmes may have shorter or longer sessions, and they may vary in the number of weeks they run for. Programmes are usually run in a hospital or a community or leisure centre, and may be done in group sessions or individually. Exercise is an important part of rehabilitation as it will help with recovery and improve fitness, strength and general wellbeing. Regular exercise also helps to keep the heart healthy for the future.
Before starting a programme patients will have an assessment to find out how much exercise they can safely do. A nurse, physiotherapist or an exercise specialist can then work out a programme of exercises, tailoring the programme to meet particular needs. This will You will start slowly and gently, and increase gradually over the weeks of the programme. The main part of the exercise sessions will be ‘aerobic’. These are exercises that help to improve the fitness of the heart and circulation. Most cardiac rehabilitation programmes include a range of different exercises. Some use equipment such as exercise bikes and some may include chair-based exercises.
A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is a surgical procedure widely used to treat coronary heart disease. It diverts blood around narrowed or clogged parts of the major arteries (blood vessels), to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. A graft of a new blood vessel is used to divert the flow of blood around the part of the coronary artery that is narrowed or blocked. Every year, 28,000 CABGs are performed in the UK. Nearly 80% of those needing the operation are men over 60.
The outlook for people having a CABG is generally good. Most people will experience a significant improvement in symptoms and their heart attack risk will be lowered. However, a CABG is not a cure for coronary heart disease. If people do not make lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and quitting smoking, grafted arteries will eventually also become hardened and narrowed.