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Cardiac rehabilitation is integrated into the treatment programme of the Department of Cardiology of Bispebjerg Hospital and starts at admission. Patients with angina pectoris, congestive heart failure or myocardial infarction and patients at high risk of developing ischaemic heart disease are immediately informed about the importance of smoking, diet, obesity, exercise, blood pressure and diabetes. In addition, patients’ mental reactions to acute illness are also managed during admission. Nevertheless, the admission period is so short today – often under 4–5 days – that we cannot inform about and initiate changes in lifestyle and obtain insight into the patients’ current physical, mental and social functioning. Many patients are so acutely ill that they cannot receive and understand the considerable information and activities.

Information about lifestyle factors is so important because changing lifestyle is the most important factor in avoiding relapse with exacerbation of illness, readmissions and new cases of myocardial infarction. Ensuring and optimizing patients’ physical, mental and social functioning are prerequisites for returning to a normal life after illness and thereby improving the quality of life.

The comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation programme at Bispebjerg Hospital, with physicians, nurses, secretaries, physical therapists and clinical dietitians and close contact with social workers and liaison psychiatrists, has resulted in the establishment of opportunities to influence the lifestyle factors and the level of functioning in the long term for patients admitted to the Department of Cardiology.The cardiac rehabilitation team has contributed to a comprehensive view of the patients and to creating a continuous patient programme for heart patients. This comprehensive view has influenced the overall attitudes in the Department.

International research has shown that influencing patients’ risk profile and level of functioning requires focused and integrated activities in which all aspects of rehabilitation are assessed simultaneously, in contrast to the previous practice of assessing each factor individually. A fruitful research environment has been created in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit, which will be a future basis for developing and adjusting the activities and services for patients.

Comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation is here to stay.

Jørgen Fischer Hansen
Head, Department of Cardiology

Karin Højgaard Jeppesen
Chief Nurse, Department of Cardiology

Oktober 2003
Centre for Internal Medicine
Bispebjerg Hospital
Copenhagen Hospital Corporation
Copenhagen, Denmark

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© Cardiac Rehabilitation, Department of Cardiology Y, H:S Bispebjerg Hospital