EVALUATION OF A COMPREHENSIVE CARDIAC REHABILITATION PROGRAM
NICOLEAU, CARL ANDRE
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This study sought to determine whether or not a comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program that optimized the provider-patient relationship could successfully rehabilitate patients of lower socioeconomic status who have sustained an acute myocardial infarction. The design consisted of a retrospective self-report comparison between a treated group (number of patients = 24) and an untreated group (number of patients = 24). Forty-eight patients of lower socioeconomic status were selected from the pool of patients admitted to the Coronary Care Unit of a Municipal hospital following an acute myocardial infarction. Patients' ages ranged from 31 years old to 87 years old. Treated patients participated in the rehabilitation program, while untreated patients were seen by residents at Jacobi Hospital. The rehabilitation program represented the concerted effort of a general internist, a cardiologist, a health psychologist, 3 physical therapists, 1 occupational therapist, and a nurse practitioner who was the primary health care provider and patient educator. The study attempted to validated 4 major hypotheses: Hypothesis 1 predicted that relative to the untreated patients, the treated patients would report significantly greater reduction in risk factors for coronary heart disease. Hypothesis 2 predicted that the treated patients would report significantly more improved health and enhanced quality of life, in comparison to the untreated patients. Hypothesis 3 predicted that relative to the untreated patients, the treated patients would demonstrate significantly more knowledge about coronary heart disease. Finally, Hypothesis 4 predicted that the treated patients would report significantly greater compliance with the antihypertensive regimen, relative to the untreated patients. According to the findings, Hypothesis 1 was not supported. However, hypotheses 2, 3, and 4 were partially subtantiated. The results of this study indicate that a comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program that maximizes the provider-patient relationship can play an important role in the promotion of health, enhancement of the quality of life, acquisition of knowledge about coronary heart disease, and in improving compliance with antihypertensive medications among treated patients.