Cardiology
Cardiology

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Location: Outpatient Therapy Building

Phone: 406.327.4241

Cardiac rehabilitation is for people of all ages who have heart disease. That includes those who have had a heart attack, a stent placement, or have been diagnosed with angina or congestive heart failure. People with pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) can also benefit from cardiac rehab. If you’ve had coronary bypass or heart valve surgery, your rehab may start in your hospital room and continue in our outpatient program at Community Medical Center.

When you begin your outpatient cardiac rehab, you’ll join a small group of people—no more than four—who may have conditions very similar to yours. Being active after a heart attack or procedure can be frightening, and your health and safety are our top concern. To ensure that you do well:

  • Your therapist will consult with your physician to determine your current condition and start you at a safe pace.
  • Your heart rate, heart rhythm and blood pressure will be continuously monitored as you exercise.
  • Our experienced therapists watch each participant carefully for signs that they should slow down or stop, and help them know when to increase their activity levels.
  • As you exercise, your therapist will give you information about cardiovascular risk factors that is tailored to your specific needs.
  • Each participant gives feedback on their program and how they’re feeling during the exercise.
  • We welcome spouses or family members to participate in Rehab also.

As you progress through your rehab program, you’ll gradually increase your activities on machines such as treadmills, stationary recumbent bikes and elliptical trainers. Many people are surprised at how well they do and how much better they feel when they get into the rhythm of exercising. You’ll also learn how to make healthy changes to your lifestyle such as:

  • Eating healthful foods. Our registered dietician will visit several times over the course of your therapy to give advice about healthy eating, including how to create a heart-healthy diet plan that you can stay with and enjoy.
  • Quitting smoking. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best steps you can take to improve your health. We offer counseling about ways to quit, and we work with your physician to help make your smoking cessation program work for you.
  • Reducing stress. Everyday stress is an important factor in health, especially for people with heart disease. Our social workers can give you advice on minimizing the stress in your life, and a psychologist is also available for personal counseling.
  • Adjusting to everyday life. Some people with heart disease need help doing daily tasks like cooking and cleaning. An occupational therapist can visit your home and help make it easier and safer to move around in. You can also get advice on conserving your energy with mobility aids and smart movement techniques.
  • Getting back to being active. If you are used to a high level of exercise, our personalized lifestyle modification classes can guide you through the best way to return to vigorous workouts

Cardiac rehabilitation at Community Medical Center is unique in our area for its small classes and close personal attention. Group members tend to be very supportive of each other, and generous with encouragement and laughter. You’ll also benefit from working with Julie Bauer, who is a master’s degree-level exercise physiologist with more over 20 years’ experience in cardiac rehab. She gets to know each patient and understand their individual needs. Julie will develop a personalized plan for your classes as well as a home exercise program you can continue after completing your program.

Cardiac rehab is included in most insurance policies; Community Medical Center will check your policy for you to see if you are covered. Classes typically meet three times a week for one hour, but this schedule can be tailored to fit your individual needs. Classes are available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm.