LETTERS: Cardiac program changes aimed at opening space for more patients

Editor:

Re: Cardio program participants ‘being thrown under the bus,’ Nov. 29 letter

Fraser Health would like to provide clarity regarding the cardiac rehabilitation program offered by Peace Arch Hospital.

We are proud of the success of this program, and we share our passion with long-time participants. That is why we are enhancing the program to create additional space for South Surrey and White Rock residents who are currently on a waiting list.

It is proven that greater health benefits occur the earlier that rehabilitation starts after a cardiac event, so reducing waits and improving access to admit new participants sooner is important to the continued success of the cardiac rehabilitation program.

Following a heart attack or other cardiac problem, a patient’s doctor can refer them to the 16-week program where they work with a team of physicians, nurses, dietitians and pharmacists to learn how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.

After the program, they are transitioned to self-manage exercise and diet or to become part of an optional maintenance program.

While we increase capacity for new participants, we are also keeping the optional maintenance program.

The maintenance program will run on the same days, though the times may be different and there will be a nominal user fee increase.

We are inspired by long-time members in this maintenance program who, for up to 15 years, have worked together to strengthen their heart health while forming important social bonds.

They are excellent mentors for newcomers who may need support and encouragement.

Fraser Health will continue to work with participants – new and longstanding – to refine its programs and we are pleased that our program partners at the City of White Rock are invested in improving and enhancing these programs.

With these changes, we will help more people in South Surrey and White Rock get the rehabilitation support they need when they need it, especially recent heart attack survivors.

Teresa O’Callaghan, executive director, Peace Arch Hospital

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