Cardiac Rehabilitation & Prevention
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) helps people with heart disease make lifestyle changes so they can have the best possible quality of life and reduce their risk of heart attack or other heart problems. Maine Medical Center's cardiac rehab program, Turning Point, is the most comprehensive service offering of its kind in Maine. It’s based on the nationally-known cardiac rehab program developed by Dean Ornish, M.D., which has been scientifically proven to not only slow or stop coronary artery disease (CAD), but also reverse it. The program consists of four phases:
Phase 1 (Inpatient): If you are hospitalized with heart disease, cardiac rehabilitation begins while you’re still in the hospital. This phase helps prepare you and your family for your return to normal daily activities and learn to make heart-healthy lifestyle choices about diet, exercise, and quitting smoking.
Phase 2: Offered on an outpatient basis, this phase includes 12 educational sessions on nutrition and reducing stress, along with 18 to 36 exercise sessions. Phase 2 groups meet three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) at the Turning Point facility in Scarborough, ME. To ensure personal attention, groups are limited to 12 participants.
Phase 3: In this phase, patients transition to exercising at home or at a community-based fitness center or gym that has been approved by the Turning Point staff. For patients with certain medical conditions who require continued medical monitoring, the Turning Point program offers several 15-person, Phase 3 groups at the Scarborough facility.
Phase 4: In this phase, patients exercise independently at a community-based fitness center or gym.
The Maine Medical Center Turning Point program is open to patients who have had a heart attack, heart surgery, angioplasty, or stent placement, and to patients with stable angina (chest pain) who have not had a heart attack and want to prevent their CAD from getting worse. We also care for patients who have or had:
The Turning Point program offers:
- Exercise training to strengthen your heart - supervised by a medical doctor and tailored to your personal goals and lifestyle
- Nutrition education and counseling from a licensed dietitian who teaches you how to cook delicious, heart-healthy meals
- Stress management education so you can learn ways to reduce stress and its harmful effect on your heart
In addition, a specially trained nurse serves as your case manager, working with you one-on-one and regularly checking your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and A1c (blood sugar) levels if you have diabetes. Your case manager also stays in touch with your primary care physician, keeping him/her informed about your progress.
Your Turning Point nurse/case manager will follow up with you six months and 12 months after you complete Phase 2 of the program, and continue to be available by phone if you have any questions.
The Turning Point program has a very good track record of success based on how many patients enroll in, and complete, the program. Of the eligible patients whose doctors refer them to Turning Point, 44% enroll, compared to a national average of 17% to 24%, and 89% of our patients complete the program, compared to a national average of only 18%.
This is important because cardiac rehab works. A major research study found that patients who finished all 36 sessions of rehab reduced their risk of death from any cause by 47%, and they reduced their risk of having a heart attack by 31%, compared with those who attended just one rehab session.