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Buckner Wellness Center Focuses on Cardiac Rehabilitation

February 07, 2024

            For patients who suffer a cardiac event, the question, “Will I fully recover?” may often come to mind. For patients in the Saline County area, with the help of the Buckner Wellness Center on the campus of Fitzgibbon Hospital, the answer often is “yes.”

     Feb. 12-18 is observed as National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, which highlights the importance of cardiac rehabilitation following a cardiac event. The Buckner Wellness Center is a fully-equipped cardiac rehabilitation facility, made possible by the Buckner family through a 2001 bequest in memory of their loved one, Charles Buckner, Jr.

     Cardiac rehabilitation is a supervised program that helps people recover from heart conditions such as heart attacks, heart surgery and coronary procedures such as stenting and angioplasty. While there is not a cardiologist practicing in Marshall, individuals can ask to complete their cardiac rehabilitation program at Buckner Wellness, which is often more convenient for them. The alternative is having to commute to a tertiary site for ongoing regular rehabilitation appointments that their provider may have prescribed.

     “We have people who say that The Buckner Wellness Center is the best kept secret in Marshall,” said Kelly Frauenhoffer, R.N., Nurse Manager at the Buckner Wellness Center.  “Our patients become like family, and they make friends with other patients as well. We have very high patient satisfaction.”

     Cardiac rehab programs provide education and counseling services to help patients increase physical fitness, reduce cardiac symptoms, improve health and reduce future heart problems.

     People of all ages who have heart conditions can benefit from cardiac rehabilitation. A doctor may prescribe cardiac rehabilitation for people who have had a heart attack or bypass surgery. Individuals suffering from heart failure, peripheral artery disease, or who are preparing for heart transplant can also benefit from cardiac rehabilitation.

     A person in need of cardiac rehabilitation will undergo a medical evaluation to discover their needs and limitations. Physical activity is then tailored to that person’s individual needs. A patient may work with a trained cardiac rehabilitation therapist who will monitor heart rate and blood pressure while exercising. Eventually, the patient will be able do the exercises on their own.

    Another important component of cardiac rehabilitation involves counseling and education to help the patient understand their condition and how to manage it. Materials are provided to each patient, tailored to their individual diagnoses and needs.

    The goal of any patient-centered cardiac rehabilitation program is to help the person return to normal everyday activities and manage their heart condition themselves to prolong length and quality of life.

    “After a cardiac event, a patient receives a prescription for Phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation, which is generally for 36 sessions. This is normally covered by insurance,” said Frauenhoffer. “After the 36 sessions, the patient may continue through our community program, which is self-pay and very affordable. Many farmers take this option because the sessions do not expire, enabling them to take leave during their peak season.”

     “We find that people who participate in cardiac rehab Phase 2 feel more comfortable and confident with exercise. When they first get out of the hospital after a cardiac event, they often don’t know how much they can do or how much they should push it. They also get to talk with other patients, so it becomes a supportive environment with others who have had a cardiac event,” said Frauenhoffer.

     There are several other benefits to cardiac rehabilitation including lowering the chance of a readmission due to cardiac event. Cardiac rehabilitation can also help a person stop smoking and help to implement healthier lifestyle choices, which lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

     In addition to cardiac rehabilitation, many graduates of the program continue exercising at the Buckner Wellness Center through a community wellness program which makes the facility available to anyone looking to better their health while under the supervision of a qualified medical professional. Fifteen exercise sessions can be purchased for $72 and do not expire. Spouses can purchase sessions for an additional $57.  There is an indoor walking track and fully equipped exercise center in addition to staff supervision. Call the Buckner Wellness Center at 660.831.3232 for more information.