The Cardiac Rehab Team
The cardiac rehab team may include doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals. However, the most important member of the team is you. Be an active member of the cardiac rehab team by learning about your condition, following your treatment plan, asking questions, and reporting any symptoms or problems you experience.
Cardiac rehabilitation services (cardiac rehab for short) can involve many healthcare providers. Your cardiac rehab team may include:
- Doctors, including your family doctor, a heart specialist, and/or a surgeon
- Exercise specialists
- Physical and occupational therapists
- Psychologists or other behavioral therapists.
Sometimes, a primary care provider, such as your family doctor or nurse practitioner, works alone, playing many roles, or refers patients to other healthcare specialists as needed.
The most important member of your cardiac rehab team is you. No one else can make you exercise. Or quit smoking. Or eat a more healthy diet.
To be an active member of the cardiac rehab team:
- Learn about your heart condition
- Learn what you can do to help your heart
- Follow the treatment plan exactly as prescribed
- Feel free to ask questions
- Report any symptoms or problems no matter how small.
As you go through cardiac rehab, a support network can help you. Your support network may be family, friends, or a group of other people with heart problems.
Family members and friends can make a difference. They may want to learn more about heart problems so that their help can be even more valuable. For example, family members may have to learn to let you do things for yourself. Or they may want to learn about preparing heart-healthy meals. Your family and friends can give you emotional support as you adjust to a new, healthier lifestyle.
You may also want the support of other people who have heart disease. Ask your cardiac rehab team if they know of any support groups for coronary artery disease that you can join.