WVU Medicine Camden Clark Provides Cardiac Rehabilitation Services

(Article repurposed with permission from The News & Sentinel)

From left, respiratory therapists Andrea Greynolds and Matthew Roush, James Morgan, recovering open heart surgery patient and phase 2 cardiac rehab participant, and Kaitlyn Miller, exercise physiologist


Cardiac rehabilitation can help a patient feel more confident about beginning a new exercise routine and developing healthy lifestyle habits after a heart-related crisis, experts from WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center say.

Phase 2 and phase 3 rehab teams are cheerleaders and coaches helping patients on the journey to improving and maintaining good health.

“Our team works to keep people motivated, healthy and connected to others who have experienced similar circumstances,” Louie Haer, director of health and wellness at Camden Clark, said. “That’s the benefit of cardiac rehabilitation — even for those who haven’t been physically active before. We’ll get them engaged and on the right track.”

Cardiac rehabilitation is for people who have had a heart attack, valve replacement, stable angina, bypass surgery and other heart-related conditions.

According to national studies, people who participate in cardiac rehab have up to 30 percent fewer fatal heart events. Those who participate in rehab also can lower their chance of a second heart attack or heart surgery.

From left, exercise specialist Jeff DeLancey, Pat Perine, CSCS, fitness manager/exercise specialist, membership coordinator Scott Smith, Kayla VanKirk, personal trainer/exercise specialist/group fitness coordinator/aquatic coordinator, and exercise specialist. 

Rehabilitation includes health education and a comprehensive exercise program.

“Since our rehab programs are integrated with Camden Clark, collaboration across the health system is seamless,” Haer said. “If a problem arises, the team can refer a patient back to their cardiologist or surgeon.”

Camden Clark offers different phases of rehab depending on where a patient is on their recovery journey.

Phase 1 Rehab occurs in the hospital where rehab provide education and resources to transition to home from the hospital.

Phase 2 Rehab begins after leaving the hospital, usually lasts about 12 weeks and includes more health education and exercise utilizing ellipticals, treadmills, recumbent bicycles, airdynes, arm ergometer, rowing machine and a Nustep cross trainers and small free weights. Sessions take place in the new cardiac pulmonary rehab clinic located on the Camden Clark campus on the second floor of the new medical office building D which houses the practice of Parkersburg Cardiology Associates.

Phase 3 Rehab, also called “maintenance rehab,” takes place after Phase 2 at the Camden Clark Health & Wellness Center for three days a week for 12 weeks. Licensed exercise physiologists and other exercise specialists monitor each patient during each rehab session which utilizes all components of the integrated medically based health and wellness facility.

“When patients come to the Health & Wellness Center for phase 3, we do an initial assessment that helps us create an individualized program, paired with the physician’s order to meet each individual’s goals and address their needs,” Haer said. “We provide a tour of the facility and introduce them the complete model of our program which includes our cardiovascular equipment, strength training options, group fitness and aquatics classes. In addition we provide nutritional education, medically licensed massage, an indoor pool, steam and sauna.”

Phase 3 allows participants to utilize the facility on their own any time during their 12-week program. The phase 3 helps people build strength, make better lifestyle choices and boost their confidence, Haer said.

“By the time they graduate, they know they can do it on their own,” he said.

Cardiac Rehab is a team effort to get the patient on the road to recovery and focuses on: how to build heart-healthy habits; education about your condition; exercise, so you become stronger; nutrition and lifestyle counseling; and emotional health and skill building.

Five tips to get the most from cardiac rehab are:
* Ask for a referral: talk to a doctor about options.
* Attend: after surgery, rehab is among the best ways to improve heart health.
* Set goals: work with a care team to set realistic goals.
* Communicate: tell the care team how feelings, fears, concerns or anything that gets in the way of recovery.
* Keep going: take what is learned in cardiac rehab to live a healthier life.