Cardiac rehabilitation programs can be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Many skilled professionals are part of the cardiac rehabilitation team, including any/all of the following:
- cardiologist/cardiovascular surgeon
- rehabilitation nurse
- physical therapist
- occupational therapist
- exercise physiologist
- social worker
- recreational therapist
- case manager
- vocational counselor
The Nebraska Medical Center Cardiovascular Rehabilitation team includes a variety of specialists who bring a well rounded perspective to the treatment services. The health care specialists include:
Outpatient Program Staff (Phase II and III)
Five Registered nurses are employed and work in the outpatient department as case managers. Each patient is assigned a case manager who works with the patient to set goals and in teaching skills needed to achieve healthy lifestyle changes. The case manager frequently communicates with the patient's physician and provides important information for the development of an ongoing treatment plan. These nurses are highly skilled professionals with many years of experience working with heart patients and families. Several of the nurses have received validation of their professional knowledge and skills through certification by the American College of Sports Medicine.
One Exercise Physiologist is employed by the department. This employee is responsible for consulting with the case managers and overseeing the development of the patient's exercise prescription and educational programs pertaining to exercise. Home exercise programs are also developed and discussed each week with patient's who have been instructed to supplement their exercise program at the center. In addition, several of the registered nurses in Cardiac Rehab have graduate level degrees in exercise science and have been certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as exercise specialists.
Two staff assistants are employed by the department and complete all necessary insurance preauthorization and pre-certification required prior to new cardiac rehabilitation outpatient enrollment. Financial considerations are discussed with each patient and information the patient needs to know before coming to exercise are also reviewed. The staff assistants register all new patients coming into the program on orientation day.
Nutrition Therapist Specialist
A nutrition therapist specialist serves as a consultant to the staff and patients of cardiac rehab. The specialist has a bachelor's degree with a major in nutrition/dietetics, completed an internship, credentialed as a Registered Dietician and is licensed through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The Nutrition Specialist provides individual consultation with patients setting goals for weight, lipid and diabetic management. She also provides educational group lectures at the rehab center.
UNMC pharmacy residents provide an overview of each patient's medication regime. All patients participating in the Phase II outpatient program receive handouts and pertinent information on all medications currently prescribed. Consultation is provided to the patient's case manager and/or physician regarding concerns or recommendations as needed.
Clinical Pastoral Education residents work with Cardiac Rehab outpatients providing discussion groups and individual support as needed. These men and women have completed their graduate level theological degree and come from a variety of faith traditions. These residents train under the guidance of a supervisor certified by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. Some of the residents chose to specialize in a particular area of pastoral care ministry such as cardiology. Group discussion regarding "the power of hope in healing" is offered every 7 weeks for all patients enrolled into the Phase II Cardiac Rehab program.
In-patient Program Staff (Phase I)
Four Registered Nurses are employed by the department and staff the in-patient service. Upon physician referral, these nurses go to the patient bedside and initiate education and monitored exercise. Often times, this will be the first exposure a patient will have to our cardiac rehab program and staff. Hospital stays can be very short; therefore, education is focused on what the patient needs to know for discharge. The inpatient nurses identify patients appropriate for outpatient cardiac rehab and begin the process for referring these patients to Phase II or Phase III programs.