Helen Moos, 91, acknowledged she “kind of grumbled” when she learned that cardiac rehabilitation was the next step in her recovery.
But the grumbling didn’t last long.
Moos and St. Rose Health Center providers wanted to share information about cardiac rehab in observance of American Heart Month.
“My kids and doctors were after me to go to rehab, and even though I didn’t want to, I am glad I did,” Moos said. “It did make me stronger and I know I wouldn’t have progressed as much without it.
“I am buzzing right along. If you can say a 91-year-old can be buzzing right along,” she laughed.
Moos suffered a heart attack last July and a stent was inserted; her doctor referred her to rehab. She attended three days a week for 12 weeks.
She started slowly and was introduced to the procedures and equipment.
“I did the treadmill and bicycle and was monitored the whole time. The treadmill was not my favorite thing,” she admitted. “But the staff at St. Rose was super.”
When Moos started cardiac rehab, a volunteer drove her to St. Rose and she used a walker. The next thing she knew she was driving herself and before long she was using only a cane.
“I was weak and tired when I started. But I did well and they told me I was ahead of schedule,” she continued. “I am so glad I listened to everyone. Not only was the St. Rose staff great but I got to meet a lot of other nice people that were in rehab too.”
Kristin Steele, registered nurse in cardiac rehab, noted that Moos was barely strong enough to hold her head up in the beginning.
“But even though she was physically weak, she was motivated to become stronger and feel better,” Steele said. “By graduation, she was walking with a cane instead of a walker and living independently with little difficulty.”
Steele added that Moos walked 468 more feet in six minutes at graduation than she was able to walk when she started rehab. This was more than twice the distance she could walk upon admission.
Lori Hammeke, St. Rose respiratory therapist, also is part of the cardiac rehab team. She shared information about the importance of rehab after a cardiac event.
“A rehab program is crucial for many heart patients,” Hammeke said. “Our team can help them safely regain strength while we closely monitor their recovery.”
Cardiac rehab is tailored to each individual. It is designed for those who have had a heart attack, bypass surgery, valve replacement, stent placement, pacemaker or defibrillator insertion, and heart-lung transplant.
In addition, those with stable angina, heart failure and coronary artery disease may also benefit.
“Rehab for heart failure is becoming more common,” Hammeke said. “Insurance companies are realizing its importance to patients.”
Specific goals include increasing heart and lung endurance, muscular strength, circulation and knowledge of risk factors. Simultaneously, the risk of future heart problems decreases, and cholesterol and stress can be lowered.
“The primary goals of cardiac rehab are to help patients recover incrementally and safely,” Hammeke summarized. “We can help them with their overall health in the process.”