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Getting Your Heart in Shape with Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

February is National Heart Month as designated by the National Heart and Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Also, National Cardiac Rehab Week is in February as well, per the American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehab (AACVPR).

This means that this month North Valley Hospital and partner organizations in Kalispell Regional Healthcare and around the valley are focusing on the patient benefits of heart health, and especially cardiopulmonary rehab, through promotional activities, education and exercise challenges.

What is cardiopulmonary rehab?

Carrie Bates, Director of Respiratory Therapy at North Valley Hospital, is happy to share the benefits of cardiopulmonary rehab and activities scheduled for this month to recognize the patient benefits.

Cardiac rehabilitation is an individualized and personalized treatment plan following a heart attack, angina, heart surgery or other heart disease. It includes evaluation and instruction on physical activity, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a service designed for those who experience lung problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, bronchitis, lung cancer or lung cancer surgery, and other pulmonary diseases.

Bates explains, “Patients can learn about heart disease, how to address the heart disease, how to prevent different kinds of heart disease, and other contributing factors from our professional team in cardiac rehab at North Valley Hospital.”

How is NVH Celebrating Heart Month?

Bates is enthusiastic about bringing fun activities and challenges to cardiopulmonary patients and their families during February and into March.

Patients can take part in exercise challenges, like a sit to stand challenge. Also, the cardiopulmonary rehab team is also doing a Bingo game throughout the month. The game includes pieces that are all health or wellness related goals to complete. “The Bingo game improves patient outcomes, and helps to build a fun, social atmosphere in the rehab program, which boosts patient satisfaction,” says Bates.

Cardiopulmonary rehab staff is also working to guide patients in building good nutrition habits by emphasizing healthy eating through a recipe exchange. The recipe exchange allows patients and employees to bring in favorite healthy recipes, copy and share with other patients and staff as part of the cardiopulmonary rehab program community.

The expert cardiopulmonary rehab team includes pharmacists, registered dietitians, respiratory therapists, registered nurses, and other specialists. The team is also hosting an open house that allows employees and family members of patients to come see the program facility and learn about the rehab program and how it improves patients’ life and health goals.

Written by Allison Linville, marketing and community relations manager for North Valley Hospital.

This story was originally published in the Whitefish Pilot on February 4, 2020.