Undergoing surgery to repair something with your heart is only half the battle. Recovery itself can be a full time job. That's why the Avera Heart Hospital holds discharge classes daily, so patients are armed with knowledge and confidence to take better care of their heart once they get home.
Cardiac Rehab Nurse Joyce Horstman is leading the daily morning discharge class for patients at the Avera Heart Hospital. It's for folks who have either had a procedure in the catheterization lab, like a stent to open a blocked artery, or they had open heart surgery. Everyone in the class we listened in on had a heart attack and a stent.
Registered Nurse Joyce Horstman says, "It's important they go through class because they need to know information when we send them home so when they walk through the front door they don't say 'Oh no, now what?' We want them to be confident. We want them to know what to be on the lookout for, what they should and shouldn't be doing, and how to plan their day. This is their full time job for at least a few days to a few weeks and we want them to be prepared."
One of the things they teach the patients is weight restrictions. It's usually 10 pounds which is equivalent to a small dog, a gallon of milk or a super sized bag of pasta noodles.
Joyce says, "Heart disease is a process that's created the reason that people are here. The whole goal of educating them is to help them know the process so they don't have to come see us again soon."
Learning about making life style changes and meal modifications are also on the menu at "Education A'la Heart". Clogged arteries just don't happen over night and that's where a Registered Dietitian steps in to help.
Avera Heart Hospital RD Mary Beth Russell says, "My part is the nutrition aspect. We talk about what foods we want people to eat to protect their heart. The Omega 3's, fruits and vegetables, whole grains. Why try to show them all the good foods they can eat and not a long list of things they can't. We try to be positive."
Most patients want to be good students at discharge class and change unhealthy habits at home. If they don't, they could end up right back here again, that is if they are lucky enough to survive another heart attack.
Discharge class is held every Monday through Friday morning at 10:00 on the 2nd floor waiting room at the Avera Hart Hospital. It's free and anyone can attend.