328 West Conan Street, Ely, Minnesota 55731

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Celebrate World Heart Day

EBCH Honors this Day and Recognizes One Year since Cardiopulmonary Rehab Program’s National Certification  

Cardiovascular disease is the world’s number one killer. Luckily, it is possible to slow down or prevent the disease’s progression – or even recover from a cardiac event even stronger than before. 

On September 29, World Heart Day, the World Heart Federation is hoping to bring more awareness about prevention techniques and treatment options, so more people can get the help they need to overcome this pervasive disease. 

World-Class Care Close to Home 

Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital’s Cardiopulmonary Rehab program has something special to celebrate on World Heart Day 2023. One year ago, this program became nationally certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). A certification like this is more common for larger and more urban hospital settings, so this is especially exciting for EBCH and the communities it serves. 

“We pursued this accreditation for a variety of reasons,” explained Thomas (Tommy) Teigen, exercise physiologist and team leader for the EBCH Cardiopulmonary Rehab program. “While we were already meeting most of the criteria, this process really forced us to review and document every detail. We knew we couldn’t take anything for granted. This certification means our program standards are on par with cardiac rehab programs at the larger hospitals throughout our region.” 

It also means patients can get the type of care they need close to home. 

“For me, personally, I don’t ever want people to sacrifice care just because we live in a small, rural community,” Teigen shared. 

EBCH’s cardiac rehab program provides support for patients who have experienced a cardiac event, such as a heart attack, heart surgery or a cardiovascular disease diagnosis. 

“It’s not just an exercise program,” said Teigen. “We look at diet, stress, cholesterol, mental health and other conditions a patient may be dealing with, such as diabetes, and we give people a deeper understanding of what pieces they can control.” 

The basic cardiac rehab program at EBCH involves an initial consultation, as well as 36 sessions over three months, meeting roughly three times per week. 

“While there are certain benchmarks we’d like each patient to achieve before graduation [from the program], there is a lot of research that shows simply completing all 36 therapy and treatment sessions results in significant benefits and results,” Teigen explained. “Completing the full program is much easier when appointments are nearby in the community. Plus, we can often tailor the program to your specific needs because we get to know patients better in a smaller program like ours.” 

And participants certainly do report results. 

“Even when a patient is skeptical that this program will make a difference, they are often surprised by the huge improvements they see by the end,” Teigen said. “I had one patient recently who started working again after being forced to retire a few years ago due to physical exhaustion. She was thrilled to actually be able to move around with confidence again.” 

Tips for Prevention and Maintenance 

Teigen encourages people who have experienced a heart or lung issue to ask their own primary-care providers about cardiac rehab programs close to home. 

More importantly, he suggests the following lifestyle habits to be preventative when it comes to heart health: 

  • Be diligent about getting an annual physical: Catching problems early gives you the best chance to slow down or reverse a heart condition. 
  • Know your numbers: Specifically, be sure to check blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.  
  • Exercise daily: It can be as easy as a daily walk. Consult your provider for a recommended length of walk or exercise duration before starting a new regimen. 
  • Avoid processed food: As much as possible, stick to shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. 
  • If you smoke, stop: If you’re struggling with being able to stop smoking and need help, ask for it.

“The best gift you can give yourself is to be proactive about your health,” Teigen confirmed. “We are here to help.” 

If you would like more information about EBCH’s cardiopulmonary rehab program, or you want to make an appointment, call 218-365-8738

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