Education and support for the newly diagnosed cardiac family: a vital link in rehabilitation


  • Nancy C. Wiggins BN BA MA

    1. Associate Professor, Primary Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, University of New Brunswick, PO Box 4400, Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5A3, Canada
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In eastern Canadian small cities, community programming for cardiac rehabilitation is in its infancy. As professional awareness of the special needs of cardiac clients has grown, some components of cardiac rehabilitation programmes have developed, albeit autonomously from one another, e.g. in-hospital education, home visiting, exercise programmes, and support groups. Attempts are being made to establish communication channels among the health personnel involved in the different agencies in order to achieve a better availability and coordination of services for the benefit of cardiac clients and their families. To address needs arising after the first hospitalization or first diagnosis of cardiac disease, an education and support programme has been established by a university nursing faculty through the efforts of its junior students. This programme takes the form of 8-week series of informal classes. Objectives, methods and outcomes are outlined. Some recommendations for future community cardiac rehabilitation efforts emerge from clinical practice and programme evaluation. Implications for health professionals in such future activities are discussed.