An important part of any cardiovascular procedure or pulmonary issue is the caliber and convenience of rehabilitation. High quality post-operative services can mean the difference between potentially returning to a normal lifestyle and returning to the hospital, according to Patsy Glasscock RN, Manager of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehab for Hill Country Memorial.
“One of our main goal is to help ensure patients are not being readmitted to the hospital,” said Glasscock, who has worked at the center since it was established in 1991. “We take them from their post-hospital procedure through rehab until they get back to doing things they were doing before.”
Much of the care at Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab is targeted toward heart patients recovering from some type of event, such as a heart bypass, placement of stents or valves, heart failure or even a heart transplant. Services also cover vascular disease and pulmonary issues, most commonly COPD.
To serve this range of conditions, Glasscock and a staff of RNs and respiratory therapists, design plans for each individual patient. They work with a full set of cardio workout equipment that includes treadmills, stationary bikes, and steppers, along with specialized machines for patients with limited mobility.
“We can design a program for just about anybody,” she said. “And, we have fun! We play music and we cheer people on. Before Covid, we encouraged people to make friends and find workout buddies.”
Glasscock noted that patients can still use the HCM rehab facility even if their procedure was done at another hospital. All it requires is a doctor’s orders.
“If someone can benefit from our cardiac rehab, we can call their physician and ask them to refer the patient to us. We’ll do the work so all they have to do is walk in the door. We handle it all.”
Some clients benefit from the workouts and support so much, they continue using it via the private pay Heart Fitness program. This program allows them to enjoy more freedom and flexibility in their workouts, while still being monitored by a familiar staff.
Another factor in successful recoveries is the inclusion of the patient’s family.
“It is scary for a lot of them and for their families,” Glasscock said. “We try to work with patients and family members to help educate them. Many times the family attends the new patient orientation. That way we get to know them, as we review family histories and develop a customized care plan.”
It is understandable for patients that may have just undergone a heart procedure to feel cautious about undertaking an exercise program. That is why patient safety is always the priority. The staff is continually monitoring each individual, and keeps on site all equipment required to address any critical cardiac event. All professional staff have Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification from the American Heart Association.
“We monitor patients, following protocols from their physicians,” Glasscock said. “We are always in close contact with physicians.”
HCM Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab is nationally certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). Thanks to diligent sanitizing and rearranging workout schedules to maintain separation, the center never had need to close its doors during the pandemic.
As with many medical conditions, there are steps anyone can take to reduce the risk of heart issues.
“There are many things to do to keep your heart healthy,” Glasscock said. “It’s important to have a regular exercise routine, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep. The best thing you can do is see your doctor for regular checkups and annual exams. Then your doctor can catch an issue early before it becomes a serious problem.”
Anyone considering using these services is encouraged to contact the staff at (830) 997-1358 to arrange an interview or tour, or visit www.hillcountrymemorial.org for more information.
“We are always very eager to share what we do here!”