Heart PARC (post-acute rehab care) is a multi-disciplinary approach to working with patients who have cardiac diagnoses. The therapists and nurses work closely to partner with cardiologists in the community so that they can fine-tune established protocols for cardiac care. Many patients are not yet ready to return home with home health services after a cardiac surgery or a cardiac episode, and the program is the bridge to get them home safely. The Heart PARC program uses evidence-based approaches and is outcomes-based.

A great example of excellent results from this program comes from Park View Post-Acute Care (PVPA) in Santa Rosa, California. A 71-year-old man was admitted to the hospital because of dizziness and a loss of consciousness, and tests at the hospital revealed that he had aortic valve stenosis and coronary artery disease. The patient underwent a CABG, and the original plan was for him to discharge home after surgery.

Prior to discharge, the patient became dizzy and was demonstrating irregular cardiac rhythm. The cardiologist was aware of the Heart PARC program at PVPA and recommended that he first go for therapy services and skilled nursing services before going home.

The patient had skilled therapy services that included teaching the patient and wife how to monitor heart rate and blood pressure during activities, activity pacing, energy conservation, body mechanics and sternal precautions, and the use of adaptive equipment for safety at home. Nursing and dietary provided education and training on diet and medication management.

The patient made excellent progress, and in eight days, he was able to discharge home safely, ambulate 250 feet, and dress and shower himself. He expressed that although he was very reluctant to go to a skilled nursing facility after surgery instead of home, once he understood all of the wealth of services and education that he would receive, he was “all in.” His wife was with him every step of rehabilitation, and she also expressed that she was far less apprehensive about being at home alone with her husband after such a life-changing cardiac event.

Heart PARC can greatly reduce the potential for readmission to the hospital because patients are surrounded by highly trained nurses and therapists to ensure that they are truly ready for the challenges at home.

Submitted by Park View Post-Acute Care, Santa Rosa, CA