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Heart health and wellness program at Memorial Hospital

Memorial offers state-of-the-art facility

Participants in an early morning heart health exercise class at Memorial Hospital, including (from left) Bob Porter, Larry Miller and Charlie Kinsman, get encouragement from program coordinator Tanya Carbonaro RN. (click for larger version)
July 02, 2009
Having been with Memorial's cardiac program since its inception in 1994, it's easy to understand Carbonaro's enthusiasm. The exercise area is bright and airy, with mirrors, flat screen TVs, a wide range of treadmills and other exercise machines, plus a free-weight and stretching area and shower facilities.

On a recent Monday morning, as lively music played, more than a dozen people were working out, all under the watchful eyes of Registered Nurses.

While the department is well known and respected for its cardiac and pulmonary rehab programs, Carbonaro explains, "On an outpatient basis, we're here for anyone who feels that they want the safety and security of being in a supervised program."

Research shows that people with chronic conditions and challenges other than a lack of fitness can benefit from the cardiac rehabilitation model which includes professional monitoring and education. "We work with each person's unique needs, and tailor a program for them. Our program is designed to progress at a pace each person is physically able to tolerate, something often missing at other facilities."

Memorial Hospital's exercise program is certified nationally by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), which provides standards and guidelines for the program. One of the most important components is oversight of the program by a medical director who is available for emergent situations or consults. Any physician can refer to the program, but knowing that a doctor is always available enhances some people's ability to relax.

According to Dr. Rita Kostecke, the program's current medical director, "Some patients might not even attempt to exercise if it wasn't for the continuous monitoring that our program provides." She says communicating with your physician regarding medication adjustments or exercise problems while in the program can help save office visits, or maybe even your life. †

Carbonaro explains, "We recently had a patient with no known heart disease who began having some vague chest pain while exercising with us. We set up a stress test through his physician and he was found to have a clogged artery which required placement of a stent to open it. The fact he was exercising with us, working up slowly, prevented him from having a full-blown heart attack on his own."

Providing quality services means showing outcomes that measure the attainment of your goals. Most exercise programs look at weight loss as the ultimate goal, but for the majority of people the quality of their health is what is important to them. "We look at some unique data that tells us our clients are improving," Carbonaro says.† "Mental health scores, oxygen saturations, activities of daily living, along with weight and body fat, give us a better over-all picture of how the client is doing. We hope patients use this program as an opportunity to change a multitude of areas in their life and we, as well as their classmates, are here to support them on a daily basis," she adds.

To enroll in any of the Heart Health and Wellness Programs at Memorial Hospital, or for more information, call 603-356-5461, X417, or visit www.MemorialHospitalNH.org.

Martin Lord Osman
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