Rush Cardiac Rehab Program Helping Provide Path to Healthier Lives

In its first year, more than 140 patients completed the program

(June 21, 2018) “I’m probably healthier now than I have been in a long time,” said Charles Morris after a recent cardiac rehab session at Rush Oak Park Hospital, “and it’s due to this program.”

Morris is referring to the Rush Cardiac Rehab Program at Rush Oak Park Hospital, which back in May celebrated its one-year anniversary. It wasn’t long ago that the former senior minister at Fort Washington Collegiate Church in New York underwent a procedure to open a severely blocked artery in his heart. The successful procedure was followed up with the hospital’s 12-week cardiac rehab program that now has the 69-year-old Morris feeling healthy and vibrant again. The Oak Park transplant has been able to resume his regular golf rounds and his daily walks with his wife, Deborah.

“The staff is wonderful, very attentive. On my first day, they took me through the process of what exercises I needed to do and for how long,” he said. “Once I got going, they monitored my blood pressure and my blood sugar level.” Morris is an insulin dependent diabetic.

“My cardiac rehab team has worked very closely with my doctor,” he added. “I had an experience where my blood pressure was a little too high, which they caught and notified my cardiologist immediately. He adjusted my medication and all was fine. They are right on top of everything and really take good care of you.”

The program, consisting of one hour per day, three days a week for 12 weeks, is designed to help people with cardiovascular disease lead fuller, healthier and more active lives. Patients engage in a personalized course of exercise, education, counseling and support by highly skilled professionals, including cardiologists, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, exercise physiologists and respiratory therapists. More than 140 patients completed the program in its first year.

The Rush Cardiac Rehab Program includes the following services:

  • Custom​ized exercise training that includes treadmill, stationary bike, etc.
  • Nutritional counseling and support 
  • A plan to help reduce risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Smoking cessation counseling and support
  • Help with weight management
  • Emotional and psychological support, including treatment for anxiety or depression

The program has helped put Addie Harris back on the right path to good health again. Like Morris, the retired 79-year-old Chicago resident participated in the program after a cardiovascular procedure. Harris said the results have been life changing.

“I feel like I have energy again,” she said. “I recommend it for anyone; it changes you for the good. It helped me so much. Just going up and down steps I don’t have the shortness of breath I had before participating in the program. It’s been a lifesaver.” 

Watch a video about the Rush Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. 

To make an appointment for the Rush Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, call 708.660.4636. The program is located on the ground level at Rush Oak Park Hospital, 520 S. Maple Ave., Oak Park. 

(Pictured, left to right: Sandra Christ, RN, Mellisa Tracy, MD, and Michael Henaghan, exercise physiologist)