If you already offer traditional cardiac rehab (CR), you may wonder how making the transition to Pritikin Intensive  Cardiac Rehab (ICR) might impact the patient experience and your operational procedures. Joint Township District Memorial Hospital located in St. Marys, Ohio, offers the perfect example of a flourishing facility who expanded their continuum of care with Pritikin ICR.

Nearly one year ago, Amy Dirksen, Director, Surgical, Cardiopulmonary & Specialty Care Services and Carol Modica, ACSM-CEP, CCRP, Coordinator of Cardiac Services spearheaded Joint Township District Memorial Hospital’s transition from traditional CR to ICR.

Not only did the dedicated team in St. Marys , Ohio complete staff training remotely and re-open their new program during a global pandemic, they have become exemplary leaders within the Pritikin ICR community. One of the areas the Joint Township ICR team excels is in the site’s remarkable number of average of sessions completed. By clearly establishing the importance of both exercise and lifestyle education early on in a patient’s ICR journey, the team maintains an exceptional mix of exercise and education during each visit.

The Pritikin program’s flexibility has been a big help as it provides increased opportunity, incentive, and accessibility to Joint Township’s patients. The structure of our program is by design, inclusive – all patients who qualify for traditional CR can enroll in Pritikin ICR, which features twice the number of Medicare-covered sessions: 72 vs. 36. With its rolling admission structure, new referrals do not have to wait for a cohort to form before they can begin rehab. Instead, they can start the 12- to 18-week program as soon as they are cleared for exercise. Understanding that beginning cardiac rehabilitation might be stressful for patients, the Joint Township staff makes an effort to keep the atmosphere in the rehabilitation center fun and engaging.

Amy and Carol’s ICR team goes above and beyond, continuously reiterating to patients the importance of program attendance and participation in all aspects of their ICR program to optimize their recovery following a cardiac event. This along with an organized plan to help ensure patients make-up any sessions they may have missed has resulted in most of their patients completing all 72 ICR sessions. This more general approach intended to increase participation is augmented through the individualized connections the clinical staff makes with each patient.

At every visit, the cardiac rehab team checks in on patients ensuring that they find their way to the education room. Often, Elizabeth Hoying, MS, RD, LD, the facility’s registered dietitian, is the one who comes down to the gym to escort the patients to their class. Beth and her colleagues in the clinical team can often be found on the gym floor talking to patients. Making time to get to know their patients is important as it sends a clear message that they really care about the continued rehabilitation and health of each and every person in the program.

Since opening their ICR program, Joint Township District Memorial Hospital has provided their cardiac patients with both exemplary care and comprehensive lifestyle education through effectively implementing the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab program. We are so proud of Amy and Carol’s team and are honored to be a part of the positive changes they have been able to bring to individuals in their western Ohio community!

If Joint Township District Memorial Hospital’s story has you considering strengthening your continuum of care through intensive cardiac rehab, we encourage you to learn more about Pritikin ICR’s versatile solutions for comprehensive cardiac care.