PCNA endorses latest Science Advisory from the American Heart Association, urges cardiac rehab referrals

New science advisory calls attention to missed opportunities for patients to participate in life-saving cardiac rehabilitation programs

Madison, Wis. - The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) announces their support of a new science advisory released by the American Heart Association. The latest science advisory, published in Circulation, the official journal of the American Heart Association, calls attention to the gap in referral and enrollment in cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) programs and urges the referral to outpatient cardiac rehab programs prior to discharge after a cardiac event. Cardiac rehab programs have been proven to lower mortality, as well as providing a better quality of life for patients with heart disease. (Source)

Cardiac rehab programs are comprehensive secondary prevention programs that direct the health improvement for those who have had a cardiac diagnosis by working with them to change the risk factors associated with the development of cardiovascular disease, such as smoking cessation, lowering cholesterol levels, controlling blood pressure, managing diabetes, achieving weight loss goals, and managing stress and depression.

"There is a great opportunity for healthcare providers who take care of patients while they are still in the hospital or home care to "seize the moment" by referring them to cardiac rehab before the opportunity is lost," advises Dr. Lola Coke, PHD, APRN-BC, CNS, FAHA, FPCNA, Assistant Professor in Adult Health and Gerontological Nursing at Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago, Illinois and President-Elect of PCNA.

Health care professionals who can make a difference include nurses and advanced practice nurses, family practice and internal medicine physicians, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, and dietitians, as these are often the healthcare professionals who provide follow-up post cardiac event.

"PCNA urges all of their members, especially those in the acute care setting, discharge planners, case managers and home health care clinicians, to take charge by either making referrals or recommending referrals to cardiac rehab," says Coke. " Nurses in these roles form a strong relationship as patient advocates and are key players in recommending cardiac rehab to both the patient and to their physician colleagues."

The science advisory also encourages all professional who are in a policy-making or systems level position to be advocates for automatic referral processes for cardiac rehabilitation for all eligible patients.

This advisory will appear in the March issue of Circulation, but was published online on January 30, 2012.

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To interview the PCNA board members who worked to endorse this science advisory, or for general media enquiries please contact: Abby Gutowski, Public Relations Manager, at 608-250-2440 x4, agutowski@pcna.net

About PCNA: The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) is the leading nursing organization dedicated to preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) through assessing risk, facilitating lifestyle changes, and guiding individuals to achieve treatment goals. The mission of PCNA is to promote nurses as leaders in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. PCNA does this by educating and supporting nurses through the development of professional and patient education, leadership, and advocacy. For more information call 1-608-250-2440 or visit www.pcna.net.