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Screenshot of the website for cardiac rehab exercise showing a nurse in a video caption

This week the cardiac team at Airedale Hospital have launched a brand new digital exercise clinic for cardiac rehabilitation, so patients can access it whenever they want 24/7.

The new digital clinic includes a set of online cardiac rehabilitation exercise videos and easily-downloadable resources to help patients continue with their exercise regimes and maintain their fitness levels at home.

The idea is to make it easier for patients to access the classes, at a time and place that suits them, and to give them the option to do extra sessions to increase and improve their exercise capacity, which is vital for heart health.  Patients are encouraged to do the classes a few times a week to add to their exercise plan given by their specialist nurse.

The digital clinic is available on the trust website and includes a video from consultant cardiologist Dr Haqeel Jamil and a full physiotherapy-led exercise programme.  It also has a video on how to exercise safely including advice on signs to watch out for.  It includes advice on what to expect while exercising, what’s normal during the different stages of recovery, when to ask for help and ‘how to’ videos on taking your pulse and blood pressure readings.

Cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab for short) helps people get back to as full a life as possible after a cardiac event such as a heart attack, heart surgery or stent procedure.  Cardiac rehab gives patients and their family the information, support and advice needed to return to everyday life. It’s a vital part of a person’s long term recovery, as important as taking medication. Research has shown that cardiac rehab can reduce the risk of having another heart event, being readmitted to hospital and has a positive impact on a person’s wellbeing and quality of life.  It helps people live a heart healthy lifestyle and provides psychological support for the anxiety and depression often associated with a heart event or living with a heart condition.

Cardiac rehab is very much an individualised programme.  Alongside symptom management and psychological support, the community team based at Airedale hospital also offer

a mix of exercise and education sessions. The digital clinic is provided alongside face to face care and is on top of the 1:1 support given in person and over the phone by cardiac clinical nurse specialists.

Nicola Drake, Cardiac Rehabilitation Clinical Lead at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:

“For lots of people having a heart problem can be a really frightening experience and our role is to help them conquer any fears and be in control of their own body again.  We want to get people back to what’s important to them.”

“Being active and cardiovascular exercise have lots of benefits but most importantly it helps people get their confidence back.  It hopefully shows people that they can stay well and enjoy their life and at the same time reduce the risk of heart disease in the future.”

Dr Haqeel Jamil, Consultant Cardiologist at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:

“The benefit of cardiac rehab is that it not only reduces the risk of a future cardiac event, it can prevent people coming back into hospital and improve their quality of life.  Our hope is that our patients can return to a more active lifestyle with more motivation and energy to do the things they enjoy.”

To view the virtual service go to Cardiac Rehab exercise hub – Airedale NHS Foundation Trust (airedale-trust.nhs.uk).  The programme is for patients who have already been assessed by the cardiac rehab team so no one should start the programme without the approval of the team or their GP.

The videos were funded by NHS England as part of a programme to improve cardiac rehabilitation and education.  The videos and virtual clinic were created by the Working Academy in Bradford, a digital media company within the University of Bradford which employs students and produces video and designs websites and other media.