Outpatient Program

A happy couple walking down a pathDuring hospitalization, patients are automatically referred to the Heart Institute’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Outpatient Program. A cardiac rehabilitation nurse assesses you to determine what program option is right for you. The program helps participants gain the skills needed to achieve and maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle and to get back to everyday life after a cardiac event. Participating in Cardiac Rehabilitation reduces the likelihood that you will be re-hospitalized.

You are referred to a variety of health care professionals to learn about proper nutrition, physical activity, stress management, quitting smoking, and about dealing with substance abuse, return-to-work, and medication issues, as well as other health concerns, as needed. There are also a number of program workshops that are offered to you and your family. Please see our calendar for information about our free workshops Heart Healthy Workshops.

To participate, you must have diagnosed heart disease or valve disease and must be referred by a physician.

Referring a Patient (for physicians and nurse practitioners)

To refer a patient to the Cardiac Rehabilitation Outpatient Program, please complete the referral form (pdf) and fax it as specified. Patients are eligible if they have had a cardiac event and are able to participate in managing their chronic condition.

Program Options

Four program options are available, all at no cost to participants. Programs are provided in French and English.

On-Site Supervised Program

  • Duration: two to three months
  • Coronary risk factor assessment
  • Supervised twice weekly onsite exercise sessions (one hour/session)
  • Medical assessment by cardiac rehabilitation doctors
  • Nutrition workshops
  • Referral services, such as:  
    • Nutrition counselling
    • Stress management
    • Smoking cessation
    • Vocational counselling
    • Psychological counselling
    • Social work counselling
  • Follow-up evaluation scheduled after three and 12 months
  • Translation services provided for participants who do not speak English or French

 Case-Managed Home Program

  • Duration: three months
  • Flexibility for those unable to participate in the hospital-based program
  • Tailored to the individual patient’s heart-health goals
  • Coronary risk factor assessment
  • Approximately 11 appointments
  • Two appointments at the Heart Institute, remainder by weekly phone contact. (Other arrangements can be made for patients who cannot come to the Heart Institute for the initial appointments and would like to enrol in this program.)
  • Home exercise program, no supervised exercise sessions
  • Follow-up evaluation scheduled after three and 12 months

Brief Program

  • Coronary risk factor assessment
  • Nutrition and stress management education, as required
  • Exercise evaluation and tailored home exercise program; no supervised exercise sessions
  • Approximately three appointments at Heart Institute with the physiotherapist and one by phone
  • Follow-up evaluation scheduled after three and 12 months

FrancoForme

  • French language case-managed home program, open to Franco-Ontarians only
  • For individuals at risk for heart disease and for those diagnosed with heart disease
  • Duration: three months
  • Flexibility for those unable to participate in hospital-based program
  • Tailored to the individual patient’s heart-health goals
  • Coronary risk factor assessment
  • Approximately 15 appointments,  30 minutes each
  • Two or three appointments at the Heart Institute, remainder by phone (Other arrangements can be made for patients who cannot come to the Heart Institute for the initial appointments and would like to enrol in this program.)
  • Home exercise program, no supervised exercise sessions
  • Follow-up evaluation scheduled after three and 12 months
  • For more information, please visit: http://www.francoforme.ca

Program Components

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Outpatient Program offers patients access to these key components (if applicable):

Medical Evaluation

You may be seen by one of our physicians to:

  • Assess your current medical health
  • Determine risk factors
  • Set safety guidelines specific to you

Help Quitting Smoking

If you smoke, you will work with a contact person/case manager to support quitting smoking and you can be referred to the Heart Institute’s Quit Smoking Program if you wish and are motivated to quit.

Exercise Testing and Training

You may undergo an exercise test in order to create an “exercise prescription,” which describes the frequency, intensity, duration, type, and progression of your training.

If you are an on-site participant, training consists of hour-long classes led by a physiotherapist and a nurse. Each class is structured with a 10-minute individual or group warm-up period, a 35-minute aerobic conditioning period, and a 10- to 15-minute group cool-down. Telemetry monitoring during exercise is conducted for participants with certain conditions.

Aerobic conditioning exercise includes walking, jogging on a 72-meter indoor track or using bicycle ergometers, treadmills, and rowing machines. Muscle-toning exercises are performed in cool-down. If you wish to further improve your muscle strength, you can attend a Strength Training Workshop.

Vocational Counselling

During the initial meeting, a vocational counsellor reviews your current situation, work history, and work goals and assesses your work capacity. If you need to build physical strength and/or self-confidence, then “work hardening” is implemented in partnership with the physiotherapy staff and your employer.

A gradual return to work in terms of hours and/or duties may be recommended. The vocational counsellor generally monitors your progress back at work, providing supportive counselling as part of job stabilization.

Nutrition Counselling

The registered dietitian provides assessment, treatment and counseling to patients with nutrition-related issues. In the outpatient setting, the dietitian also provides assessment, monitoring and education so you can better manage your medical condition with specific diets and improved eating habits.

The Heart Institute offers nutrition workshops to help you make heart healthy food choices. For more information on the workshops, call 613-696-7068.The following Nutrition Workshops are offered:

  • ABC’s to Heart Healthy Eating: Develop the skills to make healthy food choices, learn how to read food labels and get the facts on fat, fibre and salt.
  • Nutrition Tips for Weight Management: Learn to set realistic goals, understand healthy portions and plan meals for weight management.
  • Meal Planning with Heart Failure: Are you living with heart failure? Learn how to plan meals, conserve your energy and reduce your salt intake.
  • ABC’s to Heart Healthy Eating (French Workshop): Learn how to read food labels and get the facts on fat, fibre and salt (French only).

If you have special nutrition needs or questions after attending the workshops, you can meet with a dietitian one on one.

Psychosocial Assessment and Counselling and Psychiatry Services

Psychosocial assessment, supportive intervention services, and medication consultation are available upon referral. When people experience health problems, their lives often become disrupted and they may feel worried, stressed out, or powerless. Sometimes they need help adjusting to difficult life changes.

The objective of counselling is to enhance the coping of those individuals who have experienced or are impacted by cardiac health problems, or perhaps are at risk of developing cardiac health problems.

Stress Management

The Stress Management course offers a variety of techniques to better manage stress. Each of the five 90-minute sessions covers a distinct topic:

  • Introductions: Breathing and Muscle Relaxation Techniques
  • Improving Assertive Communication
  • Uncovering Negative Automatic Thoughts
  • Changing Negative Automatic Thoughts/Thinking Errors
  • Humour as a Coping Strategy/Wrap Up

The course is offered at the following times:

Tuesdays 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Wednesdays 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Please note that the time slots cannot be guaranteed as they are based on demand. There is a $30 charge for course materials, which includes a CD, booklets, and handouts. The fee can be waived for participants.

Cardiac Rehabilitation participants may enrol directly in the Stress Management course. Family members are encouraged to contact Esther Doucette, Cardiac Rehabilitation Social Worker, at 613-696-7390 or email her at eDoucette@ottawaheart.ca to discuss enrolment and to register for the program. Family members may then be referred to a stress management group at a different time from the patient’s time.

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