Cardiac Rehabilitation

The heart of healing
Individuals recovering from cardiac surgery or a cardiac event may benefit from specialized rehabilitation to help rebuild the strength and skills that will enable them to resume their lives with greater comfort, confidence and independence.
A man sits on a therapy bench holding out a yellow bar in front of him with his arms straightened. His female physical therapist sits beside him smiling.

The RUSH Specialty Hospital - Inpatient Rehabilitation difference

Where a person goes for treatment can make a difference. Studies1 show those who receive specialized inpatient rehabilitation have greater improvement, fewer complications and return home sooner than patients at nursing facilities. We provide a comprehensive program of medical, nursing and therapy care that can optimize your strength, skills and abilities.

  • Our experienced team of cardiac recovery specialists help manage post-surgical healing and prepare you to return home and transition to life ahead.

    This interdisciplinary team is led by a physiatrist, a physician board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, and includes rehabilitation nurses; physical, occupational, respiratory and recreation therapists; speech language pathologists; psychologists; pharmacists; dietitians; case managers and other clinical and support staff, as needed. We also work closely with your cardiologist, surgeon and other doctors.

  • RUSH Specialty Hospital - Inpatient Rehabilitation's cardiac recovery program focuses on the skills, strategies and techniques you need to restore strength, avoid complications and move forward safely and confidently. Your team will establish specific cardiac parameters and monitor you closely, particularly during exercise, rest periods and recovery after exercise. In addition, we will provide the care and extensive training to help you:

    • Protect your incision while dressing, grooming and bathing
    • Practice sternal precautions
    • Follow guidelines to minimize pain, swelling and the risk of potential complications
    • Maintain blood pressure and cholesterol levels
    • Improve any vocal or swallowing issues
    • Use adaptive equipment to facilitate self-care activities
    • Transfer safely in and out of a bath tub, shower, toilet, chair and car
    • Move in and out of bed and turn properly
    • Adapt new ways of performing daily activities
    • Conserve energy
    • Prepare you to begin a cardiac rehabilitation program under the direction of your cardiologist or surgeon
  • Your treatment team will review medications, including anticoagulant therapy and diabetic protocols, and discuss a range of topics including diet, pain management and exercise. We will provide you with the knowledge and strategies to better:

    • Understand your surgery and its effect on your body
    • Recognize the signs and symptoms of possible infection
    • Manage your medications and be aware of any side effects
    • Monitor and manage your weight and recognize its importance
    • Maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes a heart-healthy diet, smoking cessation and stress management
    • Monitor your blood pressure and heart rate
    • Utilize the tools and strategies that will help you transition home and resume the activities you enjoy
  • Gaining an understanding of your condition, strengths and limitations will help you prepare for life ahead. Your team will support you in building physical, mental and emotional strength, and educating you on important topics, including:

    • Understanding heart health
    • Targeting risk factors
    • Monitoring your health
    • Managing medication
    • Nutrition and healthy eating habits
    • Managing weight
    • Conserving energy
    • Tobacco cessation
    • Resuming daily activities
    • Dealing with stress
    • Modifying your lifestyle
    • Creating a safe home environment
  • To help you successfully maintain life at home, work, school and/or in the community, RUSH Specialty Hospital offers an unparalleled continuum of care. You can build on the gains made during your inpatient stay by participating in RUSH Physical Therapy.
  • Our cardiac recovery patients have greater improvement during their stay and a higher level of independence upon discharge, based on national benchmarks.2
Debra wearing mask and sitting in wheelchair holding red heart-shaped pillow signed by her nurses.
Our Patients Say It Best
Debra's story
Debra was given a chest X-ray and doctors quickly determined that her condition was more serious than anyone realized – Debra had congestive heart failure (CHF) and her heart was only functioning at about 20 percent.

Your progress. Our programs.

Our individually tailored cardiac recovery program allows you to meet your medical, physical and functional needs, as well as support maximum gains in your cardiovascular health, physical strength, independence and overall well-being.

  • Your ability to perform daily activities at home, work, school or in the community is important to your independence. Your therapy team will introduce a variety of tools, techniques and strategies to help you manage these tasks. This includes adaptive equipment, such as reachers and other devices, to help you get dressed and do household chores. In addition, electronic and computer-based technologies, including voice-activated software and electronic controls may be introduced.
  • Preparing you and your family for life ahead is one of our primary goals. We provide extensive education, training and support to help you understand your condition, monitor your health, adopt new strategies to manage everyday activities safely and plan for life ahead.
  • Following a cardiac event, individuals may need a walker, wheelchair or other assistive device as they regain their strength and mobility. If needed, our physical and/or occupational therapists, who are certified assistive technology professionals and/or seating and mobility specialists, will evaluate your physical and lifestyle needs and use pressure mapping and other tools to find the best options for you.
  • The ability to drive is an important part of maintaining an independent lifestyle. RUSH Specialty Hospital - Inpatient Rehabilitation’s certified driver rehabilitation specialists offer the evaluation and training to help individuals return to the road safely. They will also discuss modifications and/or adaptations that may be needed.

Let Us Help

Heart disease is the leading cause of death – and a significant cause of disability – for both men and women in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, it is also one of the most preventable. That’s why RUSH Specialty Hospital encourages patients and communities to “listen to their heart,” understand their personal risk and take steps to minimize risk and lead a healthier lifestyle.

1Assessment of Patient Outcomes of Rehabilitative Care Provided in Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) and After Discharge. Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, LLC. 2014.