Content Of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation is a multifaceted intervention offering education, exercise and psychological support for patients with coronary heart disease and their families and involves a variety of specialist health professionals (Bethell, et al., 2001). Cardiac rehabilitation can promote recovery, enable patients to achieve and maintain better health, and reduce the risk of death in people who have heart disease (National Health Service Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, 1998). The challenge of CR, along with all the other aspects of secondary prevention, is the prevention of subsequent cardiovascular events, while maintaining adequate physical functioning and independence and a good quality of life (Giannuzzi, et al., 2003).

Cardiac rehabilitation is a relatively new element in the care of the coronary patient in the UK, first being adopted around the late 1980s (Fearnside, et al., 1999). Cardiac rehabilitation is now embedded as an essential component in the management of heart disease in the UK (Stokes, et al., 1998;Walker, 2003). CR is included in many UK national guidelines and standards. For example,

• British Association for Cardiac Rehabilitation (BACR) Guidelines (BACR, 1995);

• National Service Framework for CHD (Department of Health (DoH), 2000);

• Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN, 2002) (endorsed by the BACR, 2003).

All of these have served to add validity to cardiac rehabilitation. These guidelines have been developed over the past ten years, and aim to achieve optimal outcomes for patients with CHD. Cardiac rehabilitation is now 'on the map' and is an established part of cardiac care.

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