What to expect | Heart | Salem Health
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What to expect

While in the hospital — phase one 

As our patient, you’ll notice that most — if not all — of your cardiac care happens at your own bedside.  Salem Health’s cardiovascular care unit was designed to bring testing and care specialists to you, avoiding the need to roll your bed to other locations for tests, etc.

We call it “recovering in place,” which speeds your recovery — and reduces the risk of hospital-acquired infections from increased exposure to other areas of the hospital.  

Before you leave the hospital, we make sure you’re well on your way to recovery.

Your personal support group volunteer

You may also be visited by a member of our local Mended Hearts support group. These dedicated cardiac volunteers have “been there” and had experiences similar to what you are going through. Mended Hearts is a national organization whose local chapter volunteers share their time and experiences to help answer questions and inspire you in your recovery and rehabilitation. They work through our Volunteer Services office. Learn more by calling 503-561-5189 or 503-814-1773.

The next phase of recovery

Within two to three weeks of leaving the hospital, you begin phase two of your recovery — a carefully monitored program of exercise, classes that include nutrition counseling and coaching.

Your heart recovers best when your body is moving — not when you are lying in bed or sitting in a recliner.

You can walk, pedal and lift weights under the supervision of trained cardiac nurses, therapists and exercise specialists in the comfort of our workout room.

The cardiac rehab department offers classes on heart health, heart-smart eating and healthy living.

The classes are not open to the public, but your spouse, partner or caregiver is welcome to join in so you both can become heart experts and take charge of your recovery.

A lifetime of better health

If you want to continue your healthy habits after your prescribed rehabilitation program has ended, you can join the self-pay cardiac rehab maintenance class, where you will exercise with a community of people who care about heart health as much as you do.

While making your heart stronger, you are building friendships. Some of our patients have been exercising together for more than 10 years!

Benefits of cardiac rehab

Cardiac rehabilitation benefits more than just your heart. You’ll notice:

  • Reduced symptoms (chest discomfort, shortness of breath, fatigue).
  • Decreased risk of another heart attack.
  • Improved exercise performance.
  • Improved health-related quality of life.
  • Improved emotional health (reversal of anxiety and depression).
  • Improved fat and cholesterol levels.
  • Improved knowledge about heart disease and its management.
  • A quicker return to work and leisure activities.