The Oconee Regional Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Pulmonary Rehabilitation Department accommodates individuals with heart disease and pulmonary issues referred on doctor’s orders.
To celebrate Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, the rehab department offered a “For the Heart, From the Heart” luncheon for successful patients Thursday.
Program director Kaye Marshall said the crowd was “like family.” Patients and staff mingled, while enjoying healthy dishes that will comprise an upcoming cookbook.
When opened in 1997, the center was one of only three Georgia pulmonary rehabs.
People visit the rehab center only weeks after they’ve had open-heart surgery, heart attacks or angioplasty.
Marshall said patients flock from the seven county regional areas, including referrals from Atlanta.
The rehab facility treats “the whole person,” and patients that started in 1997 still come by along with newbies.
Anne Chamlee, 78, had aortic valve replacement surgery Feb. 21, 2013.
“Following the surgery and how successful it was, my cardiologist recommended the cardiac rehab,” she said. “I got started April 1 and have been here ever since.”
Prior to arrival, Chamlee heard great feedback about the ORMC facility. Doctor’s told her exercising up to three times weekly would smooth out the path to future health.
Introductory assessments determine the treatment plan. Depending on the diagnosis, the service is covered by some insurance and Medicare.
Cardio rehab goes beyond the exercise component, monitoring blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation during a visit. Home exercise prescriptions and education are vital pieces.
Lifestyle changes as far as diet and exercise are part of the process. If patients don’t maintain the program, they are right back where they started.
Many of the older generation have learned to love exercise. Commitment to the entire wellness existence is necessary to overcome medical issues.
The social aspect at the rehab center is another attraction. Patients are a tight group.
“Everybody is here for the same reason,” Chamlee said. “You are among friends even if it’s people that you don’t know.”
They all credit Marshall and her staff’s well-organized machine for saving lives.
“Those folks are very caring, pleasant and attentive to how the patients are doing,” Chamlee said. “If they have a new patient that has to be shown the ropes about what to expect, they are very helpful and reassuring. We are blessed to have the facility that functions the way it does in Baldwin County.”