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Focus on your heart health in February

February 4, 2021

Patti Iaccino learns from Debbie Gianokopolous, R.N. as part of the on-site cardiac rehabilitation program.

Have you or a loved one experienced a recent diagnosis of or treatment for heart disease? 

The aftermath of a diagnosis or treatment can feel overwhelming to start, but there are many, specialized options available as you plot your course forward. Cardiac rehabilitation at NCH provides an individualized and personalized treatment plan, including evaluation and instruction on physical activity, nutrition, stress management and other health-related areas.

Concerns about safety during the COVID-19 pandemic have only added to the worries many patients are feeling, so NCH has introduced a new Home-Based Virtual Cardiac Rehabilitation Program (HBCR).

Goals of this program include reducing cardiovascular risk, improving physical and psychosocial functioning and providing all components of cardiac rehab including exercise, education and counseling via virtual technology. A physician’s order is required and periodic evaluations will require a visit to the NCH Wellness Center on the hospital campus. However, a majority of the sessions may be done from home using virtual technology, with an experienced cardiac rehabilitation staff member live on the session having continuous audiovisual contact with patients during these sessions.

“We are so excited to be able to offer this virtual program,” says Anne M. Gavic-Ott, who manages cardiopulmonary rehab at NCH. “We understand some patients are hesitant to leave their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, so although we continue to offer our services in person we’re pleased to add this virtual option. The most important goal is ensuring patients continue to get the care they need.”

There are three components to HBCR, including exercise, education and follow-up, so virtual participants are experiencing all the same benefits as those who participate in cardiac rehab in-house.

Leslie Baker performs treadmill exercises as part of her cardiac rehabilitation program.

A series of exercises led virtually by the NCH cardiac rehab staff, with low-level exercise videos selected by our team to supplement the exercise session.

Education is provided by the cardiac rehab staff virtually and supplemented by assigned videos. Patients have the opportunity to schedule a consultation with the dietitian, and smoking cessation counseling will be available as needed.

You will not be alone in the process. Regular phone follow-up will be scheduled to address personal questions and individual needs and periodic in-center evaluations will be scheduled to assess progress and complete a monitored exercise session.

For those patients who appreciate a safe opportunity to leave the house, NCH offers two options.  The Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab program is located in our newest location at the NCH Kildeer Outpatient Center on Rand Road. Cardiac rehab is also offered at the NCH hospital campus in Arlington Heights in the Wellness Center.  NCH follows all CDC guidelines for proper COVID-19 protection including social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing.

For more information and to determine your eligibility for this state of the art program, please call 847-618-7910. Discover which plan is best for you – in person in Kildeer or the NCH Wellness Center or the new virtual option. Whatever your choice, we encourage you to focus on your health well-being.

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