"Cardiac Rehabilitation Service - brilliant!"
About: University Hospital Lewisham University Hospital Lewisham London SE13 6LH
Posted by Barry Sayers
This is an extraordinarily good and underpublicised service for those of us who have survived cardiac 'events'.
I attended 7 weekly sessions (lasting from 9am to about 2pm) which were each divided into four main areas:
A personal appraisal of your individual medical condition;
A personally tailored exercise routine;
A relaxation session; and
An education session
Commencing exercise after recovering from a heart problem can be daunting, but at all times it was clear that the staff involved (I know from other hospital reviews that I have left that it's not allowed to mention individuals' names) had our physical safety at the top of their lists which was of great comfort; it's difficult to strike a balance between encouraging activity again while not frightening the hell out of you, but the staff managed it wonderfully well. And to encourage us to continue exercise in between sessions (and to instil a bit of discipline for the future, we were offered home exercise routines - but on a purely voluntary basis).
I personally found the afternoon education sessions the most valuable; we discussed various topics like diet, exercise, medication, risk factors, devices (e.g. pacemakers) when we should ring 999 (and when we shouldn't!) and - as far as possible - why we had succumbed to our various ailments.
I think I was lucky in that the groups (of between about 4 - 8 former patients, depending on what week it was) that I was part of were populated by very different types of people, who all had a different heart problem perspective to bring to the party. And the presentation skills of the cardiac nurse specialists leading the education chats were remarkable; not something you normally associate with the medical profession.
And finally there is the opportunity to participate in further (and properly organised) exercise classes once these sessions are over.
A quite excellent service which - if we follow the advice given - should keep us out of hospital again for the foreseeable future.