Saturday, December 13, 2008

Heart patients who enjoy activity keep it up, says Foundation researcher

In patients with heart disease, physical activity is known to help improve survival rates, quality of life and reduce risk factors. But after finishing cardiac rehabilitation, many patients don't keep up with their activity prescriptions. Dr. Monika Slovinec D'Angelo is using Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario funding for a pilot study of a program using motivational support to keep these patients on track for the long run. "Less than half of these patients are active enough to derive maximum benefits and it's a real challenge to motivate them to get regular activity outside the clinical setting," she says. Dr. Slovinec D'Angelo has developed an intervention for cardiac patients using a counsellor who can help patients tailor an activity plan to their own needs as well as their likes and dislikes. Patients will be provided with five 20 to 30 minute counselling sessions, one face-to-face and four via telephone. The counsellor will also link patients to a community-based exercise program or facility where they may choose to complete some or all their physical activity sessions. Patients will be followed up at 12, 26 and 52 weeks after the end of a conventional rehab program combined with motivational support.. Self-reporting and a pedometer will be used to evaluate how their activity level is being maintained

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