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What is cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac Rehabilitation is a customized outpatient programme of exercise and education designed to improve your health and help you recover from a heart attack, heart failure or other forms of heart disease that may have required surgery or medical care.

Cardiac Rehab as its more commonly knows gives you and your family the information and support and advice you need to return to everyday life after a cardiac event.

Cardiac Rehabilitation can have many benefits to your health both in the short and long term including:
• Strengthening your heart and body after a heart attack
• Building healthier habits, quitting smoking, eating healthier and getting more physical activity into your lifestyle
• Reducing Stress
• Increasing your energy and strength with your daily activities
• Improving your mood. People often get depressed after a heart attack. Cardiac Rehab can help prevent this and possibly change your outlook
• Help teach you how to manage your medication

Research shows that Cardiac Rehab can reduce your risk of having another heart event and has a positive impact on your wellbeing and quality of life.

In November 2017 Neil Costa, Minister for Health and Justice officially inaugurated the Lionel Perez Cardiac Rehab Centre. The centre is run by two specialist clinical nurses, Mr Gerry Fortuna and Mrs Isabel Gil.

Clients who take part in the cardiac rehab programme attend a pre clinic appointment prior to commencement where they are assessed by three different specialists. On completing the programme they are assessed again so as to ascertain the progress that has been made.

The review clinics allow nursing staff to gage how clients have reintegrated back to normal life after attending the programme and helps them identify those who have done well and changed their lifestyles and those who still require guidance before more damage is sustained.

This initiative aims to assist in helping to reduce further cardiac incidences in individuals who have already sustained some cardiac injury or had an event in the past. Clients are encouraged at all times to bring a family member to their appointments as it’s beneficial for both.

The initial cardiac programme runs twice a week consisting of a period of exercise followed by a period of stress management and a healthy heart topic group discussion.

Clients who successfully complete the cardiac rehab programme are offered if they wish to join the self-help group upon completion. This part of the service is coordinated with the help of the Gibraltar Cardiac Association.

These six groups run twice a week during the day and provide an hour of exercises for ex patients. Each group identifies and appoints one of the users as a leader who in turn makes themselves responsible for the running of the class who day by day are becoming more popular and giving excellent results.

It has to be mentioned that without the perseverance of many men, some of which are no longer with us today, the Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre would still have remained a dream.

The Gibraltar Cardiac Association is always looking for sponsors and donations to purchase new equipment for the Lionel Perez Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre.

Last year thanks to a kind donation of £4000 from the Women’s Freemasons Lodge No 47 a new cardio machine was purchased for the Centre.

If anyone is interested in helping us with donations or sponsorship please email us at: gibraltarcardiac@gmail.com