Published on October 20, 2014

Cardiac Rehab at Pella Regional for Congestive Heart Failure Patients

PELLA, Iowa –The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now allows payment for cardiac rehabilitation for congestive heart failure (CHF) patients. Cardiac rehab involves a monitored exercise program in addition to instruction and counseling by a team of nurses, a pharmacist, a dietitian, a chaplain and physicians that helps patients stop smoking, eat healthily, manage stress and modify other risk factors involved in living a healthy life.

Roughly 17 percent of people age 65 and older have heart failure, according to CMS. People with heart failure often struggle to climb a flight of stairs or walk short distances. They have typically slowed down, are fatigued, and have poor endurance. They have learned to live with a lot of limitations.

“This is a wonderful step in heart health,” said Karla Berg, RN, Director of Medical Surgical Unit/Intensive Care and Cardiac Services at Pella Regional Health Center. “We can help these patients take control back from the limitations they’ve been living with as well as reduce CHF-related hospitalizations and make a positive change in their quality of life.”

In the past, CHF patients were warned not to exert themselves too much because of the possible dangers to their health. In the controlled environment of Cardiac Rehabilitation patients are monitored during the entire session, which takes a lot of stress and worry away.

"Exercise is medicine. A typical exercise prescription for a patient with heart failure focuses on duration rather than intensity and involves periodic exertion with rest breaks. When you have appropriate exercise, you correct some of the muscular weakness and chemical imbalance. People feel better. They sleep better. They show significant improvement in quality of life," said Linda Groenendyk, RN, Cardiac Services.