What really makes Cardiac Rehab work
between patients and staff
John: Whadda you been up to, Phil?
Trying to keep cool. Even the air conditioner can hardly keep
John: I know what you mean. I couldn’t do these
exercises in this heat.
Phil: I’ve got eight mets* to do
today. Not sure I’m up to it.
John: I’ll cheer you on. I’m
sure you can do it!
If you’ve had heart bypass surgery, a cardiac stent implant, valve repair, or
stable angina, your cardiologist or physician is likely to refer you to McLaren Greater Lansing’s
Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. Depending on insurance, you will go through
18-36 sessions to build your aerobic capability for daily exercise, and learn
about heart disease and lifestyle adjustments that may prevent another cardiac
event. The program is fun, and you’ll meet individuals that may become
Orientation is every Monday at 2 p.m. in the Meerman Center, 401 West
Greenlawn. It’s like student orientation: fill out paperwork and learn about
what you can expect while in Cardiac Rehab.
The following Tuesday, new patients meet one-one
with an exercise physiologist – Rob or Sarah. Susan Psychas oversees the cardiac
rehab program. Your rehab program is tailored specifically to your needs, right
down to the types of exercise you enjoy. You’ll be shown all the equipment, how
it works, and how to hook yourself up for cardiac monitoring during exercise.
Cardiac Rehab is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as early
as 7 a.m. and goes through 1 p.m. Exercise classes are held from 3-6 p.m. Each
patient is time-scheduled, so staff is not interrupted by walk-ins, and can
devote sufficient time to each patient.
Patients can expect to take dietary and depression tests. Individuals with
diabetes, or who are trying to quit smoking, are referred to McLaren Greater Lansing’s Diabetes
Management Program or McLaren Greater Lansing’s Smoking Cessation Program.
The staff teach classes on body strength and resistance training, cardiac
knowledge and risk factors. An McLaren Greater Lansing dietitian talks with each class about how
to switch to a heart-healthy diet.
Perr Meyers, manager of Cardiac Rehab, says: "Patients come in, uncertain of
what they can do, and how to set up a goal-oriented program. That’s our job: to
help them understand their disease, and the importance of regular aerobic
exercise. We plot a road map, from the day they start their exercise program, to
where they want to be when their time with us is up. We send a progress report
to their physician and cardiologist.
"We offer different types of equipment to help build core strength for just
about any exercise activity. There’s the traditional treadmill, rowing machines,
elliptical and BioDyne bicycles, weight machines, and stair steppers. Patient
start with a six-minute walk at the beginning, and a six-minute walk at the end of
each exercise period. Each patient wears a Holter monitor to track their heart
rhythm while exercising.
"Patients find a lot of camaraderie here. We schedule outside activities –
Lugnuts games, a holiday party, giveaways, and ‘The Biggest Loser.’ Prize.
"Once patients start exercising and chatting, you can see their anxieties
melt away. Parking is free and right outside the facility. Once they graduate
from Cardiac Rehab, they can elect to continue to come here for $48.70 per
month. That’s a very small cost, compared to area exercise facilities, and we
have nurses and exercise physiologists to aid with any problems.
"We like to say we’re taking patients from a virtually non-functional life to
a highly functional way of life."
Cardiac Rehabilitation Center
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 7 a.m. – 6
*Mets: Metabolic equivalent of the amount of energy the body uses to perform
a physical activity. At rest the average person’s energy consumption is 3.5