This post was authored by Marjorie King, MD, FACC, MAACVPR, past president and chair of the Professional Liaison Committee of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).
The ACC and American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) have a longstanding relationship, and as a result, have developed a variety of tools for physicians and their patients to use to encourage participation in cardiovascular rehabilitation (cardiac rehab).
As clinical practice guidelines highly recommend cardiac rehabilitation after cardiac events such as a myocardial infarction to improve mortality, quality of life and functional capacity, the ACC’s Hospital to Home (H2H) program stresses that it is important for a patient to have a referral for a cardiac rehab program within 7 days following discharge after a myocardial infarction. This recommendation is not by chance – there is now good evidence showing that the sooner a patient enrolls in cardiac rehab, the better their likelihood of attending regularly, which will then lead to better outcomes. There is also evidence that participation in cardiac rehabilitation improves adherence with preventive medications and decreases depression and anxiety.
Just in time for Cardiac Rehabilitation Awareness Week, the ACC and AACVPR worked together to update the cardiac rehab resources in the “See You in 7” toolkit available on the H2H website. The resources allow for managers, nurses, and others working on care coordination to appropriately incorporate cardiac rehabilitation into patients’ treatment to help decrease readmissions related to misconceptions about medications or symptoms.
In order to emphasize the importance of cardiac rehab, the ACC and the AACVPR have developed multiple resources for several of the success metrics of the H2H “See You in 7” challenge, including highlights of the 2010 ACC Foundation (ACCF)/ American Heart Association/ AACVPR Cardiac Rehabilitation Performance Measures. In addition, CardioSmart.org has a great overview of cardiac rehab on its newly redesigned website, in addition to a cardiac rehab fact sheet developed by AACVPR available in both English and Spanish, and a CardioSmart Video: Journey Back to Heart Health, about cardiac rehab that can be used in office or hospital settings.
Smart cardiac rehab teams will be making sure that others working on hospital readmissions in their community are aware of H2H and of the materials within the H2H website that can be used to promote cardiac rehab enrollment. It's time for ACC and AACVPR colleagues within local communities to meet to figure out how and when to use this information, in order to break down barriers to participation in cardiac rehab and improve patients' health outcomes.