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RVH and YMCA improve cardiac rehab

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Joel Seymour (left), Healthy Hearts specialist at YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka and Susan Carlisle, physiotherapist at RVH, explain the RVH/YMCA partnership to Paul Terry, a participant in the health centre’s 12-week cardiovascular rehabilitation program. Terry will will soon be transitioning from RVH’s program to the YMCA’s Healthy Hearts program to continue his path to wellness following heart surgery.

SUBMITTED Joel Seymour (left), Healthy Hearts specialist at YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka and Susan Carlisle, physiotherapist at RVH, explain the RVH/YMCA partnership to Paul Terry, a participant in the health centre’s 12-week cardiovascular rehabilitation program. Terry will will soon be transitioning from RVH’s program to the YMCA’s Healthy Hearts program to continue his path to wellness following heart surgery.

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) and the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka are celebrating the one-year anniversary of an innovative partnership that ensures heart patients from throughout North Simcoe Muskoka have access to rehabilitation services in the community.

“This is truly a celebration, not just for RVH and our partners at the YMCA, but for the 112 people who, over the past year, have been able to receive their cardiovascular rehabilitation in the community through the YMCA’s Healthy Hearts program,” said Mohammed Haqqi, cardiologist and cardiac rehabilitation lead at RVH.

“Cardiovascular rehabilitation is as good as any of the cardiac medication prescribed to people after having a heart attack. In fact, participating in cardiovascular rehabilitation reduces mortality by 20 to 30%, five years post-participation,” said Haqqi.

“In my opinion, it is one of the best things you can do for your health after having a heart attack.”

Paul Terry is completing his cardiovascular rehabilitation at RVH and will soon graduate and continue his wellness journey as a participant in the YMCA’s Healthy Hearts program.

“Cardiac rehabilitation is life-changing,” said Terry, who underwent triple bypass surgery. “This RVH program gives you back your life. I truly believe it gives you longevity, and that’s what we all want. I’m graduating from here soon and can’t wait to continue onto the next chapter at the YMCA.”

The YMCA Healthy Hearts program focuses on low-risk patients who do not need to participate in a hospital-based program and patients who have been transitioned from RVH’s rehabilitation program. RVH provides an intensive 12-week rehabilitation program for moderate- to high-risk heart patients.

Like Terry, Roy Hunter transitioned from RVH to the YMCA.

“I wanted to get back to normal as quickly as possible and the YMCA Healthy Hearts program helped me get there,” said Hunter. “I received a customized program that was adjusted as my fitness level improved. After three months, I felt that I was in great physical condition and able to do all the activities I had previously enjoyed.”

The YMCA-RVH partnership has a vision to promote wellness and build healthy communities through access to innovative programs based on the needs of the communities.

“Through education and supervised exercise, we’re helping cardiovascular patients and those at risk of developing heart disease take an active role in improving their health, increasing their physical fitness and reducing the risk of future heart problems,” said Joel Seymour, Healthy Hearts specialist with the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. “It’s a partnership that truly makes sense, and it’s changing lives.”

This partnership is the latest building block in the foundation RVH is developing for a strong advanced cardiac program. Construction has begun on the advanced cardiac centre at RVH.

The centre, slated to be operation in late 2017, will provide diagnostics and interventions such as angiograms and angioplasty, giving patients access to faster treatment, a shorter hospital stay and less travel time.



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