Cardiac rehabilitation: In-Patient (Phase 1)

Cardiac rehabilitation begins after a physician’s referral is placed. During phase 1 cardiac rehab, patients with coronary artery disease, those who have had a heart attack, those recovering from heart surgery, heart failure and other cardiac diseases, engage in monitored, low-level exercise and receive patient education.

Benefits of Phase 1 Cardiac Rehab

  • Preventing weakness and complications caused by prolonged bed rest
  • Improve endurance and flexibility
  • Promote independence, self-esteem and responsible decision making for clients
  • Educate patients regarding exercise and symptom recognition regarding exercise intolerance
  • Introduce concepts of risk factor reduction, self-assessment and self-care in heart health


Phase I exercise and educational sessions are supervised by registered nurses with expertise in cardiac rehab.

Patient evaluation

Each patient will receive a comprehensive assessment before beginning exercise and education. If there are no contraindications for exercise, activity will be advanced according to each patient's tolerance and response.


Patients referred to the service will be assessed twice daily for exercise and educational needs. Exercise goals will be established and communicated to the patient, family and nurse each day. Based upon the patient's condition and response, progressive exercise sessions will proceed during the patient's length of stay. All patients on Phase I Cardiac Rehab service will receive heart monitoring, oxygen saturation monitoring and blood pressure evaluation before and during each session. This information is communicated with other care teams in the patient's medical record.


Based upon the level of readiness to learn and each patient's expressed interests, patients in Phase I Cardiac Rehab are given education regarding their specific heart problem, activity and exercise, nutrition, medication, risk factor and lifestyle changes, emergency planning and community resources available for assistance in rehabilitation. Educational videos are offered via the hospital video system or through your patient one chart portal.

Outpatient referrals

Patients who could benefit from Phase II Outpatient Cardiac Rehab are given information regarding the program.

For patients interested in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, a physician referral is obtained and the cardiac rehabilitation enrollment process is initiated.

Cardiac rehab programs outside of Nebraska Medicine will also receive notification and a summary of pertinent information regarding the patient's hospitalization before starting the program.