Healthy hearts a priority

04 March 2021

In a South Australian first, people recovering from a cardiac event and their families are being provided with Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) awareness education as part of their rehabilitation at the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN).

Modbury Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Consultant, Michelle Iadanza, said the additional training was added last year to NALHN’s cardiac rehabilitation ‘Healthy Hearts’ outpatient program to focus not just on the patient, but to provide the opportunity for their family and carers to be involved too.

“Studies have shown that attending cardiac rehabilitation programs reduces cardiovascular mortality as well as hospital admission rates,” Ms Iadanza said.

“People who have experienced previous cardiac health issues are a high-risk cohort, and families and carers play an essential role in prevention and recovery.

“As the majority of cardiac events happen in the home, it’s important for us to partner with both patients and their families and carers the opportunity to undertake CPR training and education on how to use an AED too.

“The sessions are very interactive, allowing consumers and their families to practice CPR and understand how to use a community AED.

“The feedback from the training has been fantastic - patients, families and carers are leaving our sessions feeling less anxious and more confident in their ability to respond and it’s a privilege to be able to provide this potentially life-saving service to our community.”

NALHN’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Healthy Hearts Outpatient Program is designed to help support people return to an active and satisfying life after a cardiac event by providing individualised exercise and education, led by health professionals to improve patient’s heart health outcomes.

The program is held for two hours per week over seven weeks and is available to all NALHN patients who have had a heart attack, undergone open heart surgery, or had a significant heart event.

It covers physical activity, heart health and medication education, counselling, behaviour modification strategies and support for self-management.

The cardiac rehabilitation healthcare team consists of exercise physiologists, dieticians, counsellors, cardiac nurses, and clinical pharmacists.