Contributed by Western Baptist Hospital
Regulars Larry Hamilton (left), and John Moore talk to each other while walking on the treadmill at the Baptist Heart Center's Cardiac Rehab Center.
John Moore has been a regular at the Baptist Heart Center’s Cardiac Rehab Center since having quintuple heart bypass surgery. That was 90 pounds and nearly five years ago.
“It’s wonderful,” said Moore, 67, of Paducah. “It’s just like a second family. These nurses are great. They have been really good to me.”
Moore is part of a group that exercises in the morning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Other groups work out on alternate days or in the afternoon. Although some heart patients only come for the usual prescribed length of 12 weeks, some have been coming for years, sharing a camaraderie that began with mutual health concerns.
“The most important part of it for me is the social aspect,” said Rey Shrewsberry, 82, of Paducah. “You miss if it you don’t come.”
Shrewsberry started coming to cardiac rehab after having four bypasses in 2000. He lost 60 pounds soon after exercising and has kept it off.
“It’s sort of like being with people you work with,” he said. “We kid each other all the time, and we help each other. There’s a good bunch of nurses who take care of us. I love each an everyone.”
Teresa Cash, R.N., director of cardiovascular services, said the four nurses and one technician who staff the facility are trained in cardiac rehabilitation.
“The staff has been caring for some of these patients for years,” Cash said. “They truly care about their heart health and treat them like members of their own family.”
The 2,900-square-foot rehab center is bordered by 100 linear feet of curved glass windows, offering recovering heart patients a “window on the world” while they exercise on treadmills, stair-climbers and arm-exercisers. It is accredited by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
The rehab center serves patients who have had certain heart procedures, even at facilities other than Western Baptist; but participation does require a doctor’s order. The center helps patients recover by minimizing physical complications and improving functional capacity. It offers individual exercise prescriptions and educational programs designed to help patients maintain a healthy lifestyle.