Health Promotion of Cardiac Rehabilitation:
Post-Surgery Elderly Patients
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Cardiac Rehabilitation Effects on Elderly Patients
The spike in births from 1946 to 1964 has created a large population of elderly citizens in the United States. Statistics show that 7.1 individuals turn 50 years of age every minute (“The Boomer Stats,” 2009). The growth of this populace will lead to an increase in medical services needed; including treatments for heart disease and subsequent cardiac surgery. The purpose of this paper is to research the impact that cardiac rehabilitation has with regard to elderly patients post-surgery and the positive outcomes that may result.
There is little data that breaks down the number of heart surgeries performed each year in the United States by patient age. But according to the American Heart Association, 448,000 people had cardiac revascularization (bypass surgery) in 2006. The report also includes valve replacements and heart transplants to bring the total to 694,000 open heart surgeries performed in that year (2009).
Because the elderly population is growing, it is becoming increasingly more acceptable to use surgery as a way to prolong and improve the quality of life in patients 70 years of age and older. Surgeons are more willing today to take measures that previously may have been considered unreasonable due to a patient’s age. These reasons include surgical advancements and improved techniques from pre-surgical care to post-operative rehabilitation that was not available just a few years ago (Engoren, Arslanian-Engoren, Steckel, Neihardt, Fenn-Buderer, 2002).
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One of the big improvements in post-operative care is cardiac rehabilitation nursing. Cardiac rehab improves the overall heart health of patients and the added benefit is a decrease in healthcare bills. Reducing the need for healthcare cuts down on clinical and emergency room visits, lessons the need for hospitalizations, and in some cases can decrease the need for medications; all cost-saving bonuses for the patient. There is also evidence that shows a decrease in the need for repeated surgical procedures to fix a reoccurring issue that could have been prevented with post-operative education.
Additionally, patients involved in cardiac rehabilitation programs feel better physically and this can have a dramatic effect on their mental status. Their quality of life is improved and this gives them hope of more years of good health and independence. This in turn leads to a more active life in which their body grows stronger and healthier due to decreased blood pressure, lowered cholesterol levels, improved stamina to exercise longer, and decreased stress and anxiety (Lavie and Milani, 2004).
Some of the ways in which cardiac rehabilitation nurses are involved with patients include monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels and recording pulse rates. This data can be used to evaluate improvements and declines in patients’ status. Nurses can implement clinical baselines and monitor changes based on food intake, exercise and other factors that may be used to better manage patients’ health. This data can also be used to determine times and reasons for decreases in heart function and stress triggers. HEALTH PROMOTION OF CARDIAC REHABILITATION4
In addition, nurses offer health education classes that focus on the importance of good nutrition, ways to increase physical activity, and strategies for stress management. Nurses can hold cooking sessions in which patients learn to cook using foods to manage weight and cholesterol. These sessions can offer tips for shopping, making better choices when eating out, and ways to prepare healthier meals.
Cardiac rehabilitation nurses have training and...