Rehab program emphasizes personalization

Rehab program emphasizes personalization Cardiac Rehabilitation Week is celebrated during February, Heart Month, with the theme this year of "Your health is where our heart is." However, Deb Hauger, RN, director of Pioneer Memorial Hospital & Health Services Cardiac Rehabilitation program, believes that slogan fits year round!

A nurse at Pioneer Memorial for 11 years, Hauger has directed the Cardiac Rehab program for the last three. Her philosophy is to work with each individual client to make them feel confident, comfortable and secure as they move through the program.

Individuals are referred by physicians to the Cardiac Rehab program if they are recovering from a heart attack, had by-pass surgery, or have stable angina. She then works with each client to develop an individualized exercise and education program.

She feels one of the strengths of Pioneer Memorial's program is this individualization.

"I work one-on-one with each client. They do not exercise in a group, or sit through classroom style education classes. Instead, they have my full attention throughout the session of approximately one hour, and I share healthy lifestyle information with them in a more informal, conversational manner," Hauger said. She also individualizes the exercise program according to what the client can tolerate.

She encourages family members to participate in the session if the client agrees. That way the family member also learns about lifestyle changes in the area of stress management, heart healthy eating, the risks and benefits of exercise, and cardiovascular risk factors. In addition to these four educational areas, Hauger also develops an educational plan for each client based on their individual lifestyle challenges. This individualization not only insures confidentiality throughout, but also helps build confidence and a sense of well-being for those participating.

Pioneer Memorial's Cardiac Rehab program is actually phase two of a three phase rehab program. Phase one occurs in the hospital, and phase three is directed by Pioneer Memorial's Physical Therapy Department. Once the client returns home from the hospital, and is referred to the Cardiac Rehab program, he or she will join the phase two program for 12-36 sessions, depending on their needs.

Once they graduate from the program, they may move into phase three. The main difference between the phase two and three exercise program is that in phase two, the client's cardiac activity is continuously monitored until he or she is ready to advance to phase three.

In phase three, the client attends the rehab wellness program which is supervised by the physical therapist.

Currently Hauger is working with individuals from the Beresford, Centerville, Irene, Parker, Viborg and Wakonda areas. She enjoys her work, especially the opportunity to get to know the clients really well.

"I try to make it fun and enjoyable. When people first start they are anxious and even a little afraid. I want to make them comfortable and secure in their program so they build confidence in their ability to make the necessary lifestyle changes and move on with their lives." She follows up with each of her clients after they graduate to see how they're doing

Hauger is a member of the American Association of Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and the Upper Plains Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Association.

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