A Comparison of Usual to Best Practices in Cardiac Rehabilitation Education

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Howell, Anna R

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East Carolina University


Cardiac medical conditions are the leading cause of death worldwide. Cardiac rehabilitation following hospitalizations for cardiac events is used as a means to improve client functional status and well-being. Knowledge of the best cardiac rehabilitation methods is needed to support implementation of best practices. A program evaluation was conducted to assess the program and the barriers and facilitators for cardiac rehabilitation education in a rehabilitation center in eastern North Carolina. Some of the barriers to education included health literacy, race, language, and ability to use technology. Five key informants responded to a questionnaire, and a policy review was conducted. Data collection from key informants revealed that the nurses at the center felt well-trained to perform education and were able to understand the needs of their clients. They also believed they were well-equipped to overcome the barriers to education. However, the nurses also believed their client population would not benefit from new technological approaches to education suggested in the literature due to perceived barriers of client age and potential inability to use technology. The policy review showed that the policy and procedure handbook did not include anything about technology use. Both policies and staff reports, however, revealed ways to deal with health disparities in education. Recommendations included integrating simple take-home technology for patients in cardiac rehabilitation in addition to the regular program. Adding such approaches as a phone calls, text messages, online diaries, or website referrals whenever possible may aid clients in carrying out the therapy regimen at home.