Frequently Asked Questions
Our team of clinical exercise physiologists, registered dieticians, registered nurses, physicians and behavioral health specialists make sure you have all the information and support you need. They’re always ready to answer any questions you may have. Some questions come up more frequently than others, so we have compiled a list of answers to get you started.
What is cardiac rehabilitation?
Often called the "Confidence Course", cardiac rehabilitation is a medically-supervised program consisting of exercise, education on heart-healthy living, and counseling to reduce stress, which help you return to an active lifestyle.
How can cardiac rehab help?
- Reduce hospitalizations and improve survival
- Increase energy
- Decrease fatigue
- Reduce shortness of breath and chest discomfort
- Decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Gain knowledge to make healthier eating choices
- Learn the right way to exercise in a safe environment
Who should participate in cardiac rehab?
Cardiac rehab is designed for patients with recent heart problems including, but not limited to:
- Heart attack
- Coronary angioplasty or stent placement
- Cardiomyopathy and heart failure, including those with LVADs
- Heart transplant
- Coronary bypass surgery
- Heart valve repair or replacement
- Stable angina (chest pain or discomfort)
How does cardiac rehab work?
- Individual treatment plans developed with program staff
- Group support
- 2-3 exercise and education sessions per week, each 1-2 hours
- Regularly monitor blood pressure and blood sugar
- Make healthy lifestyle changes such as avoiding tobacco and losing weight
What can I expect from Henry Ford’s cardiac rehab program?
At Henry Ford we believe in a team approach, which is why our cardiac rehab program includes an expert team of clinical exercise physiologists, dietitians, nurses, your doctor, behavioral health specialists and you. While in cardiac rehab, you will receive a personalized exercise program that takes into consideration your unique situation and medical needs.
Your exercise routine will be focused on machines to help make your heart and body stronger. Where you start and what machines you use varies depending on your capabilities and medical condition, but may include a treadmill, bike, seated elliptical, or a rower. For some individuals in cardiac rehab, a strength training program may also be incorporated. Regardless of your individualized program, you will continually be assessed as you gradually build up your strength and endurance.
While you exercise you will initially wear an ECG monitor* that records your heart rhythm. The staff closely monitors you, so you can feel confident to exercise to your fullest potential.
Throughout your program our staff will update you and your doctor about your progress. Our goal is for you to learn how to take better care of your heart and become independent with your exercise program.
*after a period of visits many patients will come off the ECG monitor, but will still have their heart rate monitored during exercise.
What is the schedule like for cardiac rehab?
The typical cardiac rehab schedule is two or three days a week. Most health insurance companies cover 36 visits of cardiac rehab, however, it is recommended that you look into your individual plan for deductibles and co-pays. Most individuals’ complete cardiac rehabilitation in three months, however, this can vary depending on how often you attend. Each exercise session is one hour long. In addition to your exercise sessions there are education classes, led by our team. These weekly classes are typically 45 minutes long and are offered either before or after your exercise sessions. For those who are unable to attend the education classes, the same material is available online.
What do I wear to cardiac rehab?
There is no set dress code for cardiac rehab and patients do not need to go out and necessarily purchase “work-out” attire. Patients are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and good supportive walking or athletic shoes.
What are the education class topics?
There are four nutrition classes. The Heart Smart® Program at Henry Ford aims to promote a heart-healthy lifestyle by reducing controllable risk factors for heart disease such as blood cholesterol levels, obesity and blood pressure. Our Heart Smart® classes include:
- Eating Smart for a Healthy Heart
It’s never too early or too late to make changes that improve your health and well-being. Learn the basics of a heart healthy eating plan in this class.
- Smart Shopping for a Healthy Heart
With over 40,000 foods in the grocery store, shopping can be overwhelming. Learn how to use the nutrition label to your advantage and make heart-healthy food choices.
- Cooking Smart for a Healthy Heart
Eating healthy doesn’t mean sacrificing taste. Heart Smart® dietitians have been creating healthier recipes for three decades. In this class, we share our favorite recipe makeover secrets.
- Eating Out for a Healthy Heart
No matter what type of restaurant cuisine you enjoy, chances are many of the menu items are packed with saturated fat, sodium, and calories. Armed with a little knowledge, you’ll learn how to order a healthier meal no matter where you’re dining.
There are four health and wellness classes. These classes are designed to be interactive and welcome questions from the patients.
- Anatomy of the Heart I (Arterial Disease)
Understanding coronary artery disease and how to prevent this disease is essential for cardiac rehab patients. Learn about heart function, common cardiac medications and the stages and treatment for coronary artery disease.
- Anatomy of the Heart II (Heart Failure & Structural Heart Disease)
Building on Anatomy I, this class will delve into heart failure and valve disorders and its diagnosis and treatment.
- Getting Fit and Staying Active
Making lifestyle changes are hard. Learn about how to make exercise a priority in your life as well as ways to incorporate more movement into your life. This class will also go over strength training and flexibility, two other important parts of physical fitness.
- Energy Management
Our emotions play a role in our health. Learn how to manage your emotions and put a positive spin on your life and energy levels.