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For their own good
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Center is at the heart of their recovery
A new cardiac facility offers a range of services, from workouts to lifestyle support.
By CHANDRA BROADWATER, Times Staff Writer
Published December 27, 2007
From left, Paula Hartong, director of the cardiac program at Evergreen Woods, talks with Betty Gates as Midj Cleto helps Bernice Debaer on a treadmill, Janet Briody uses a stationary bike and Sean Cintron assists Juliet Bistran.
[Keri Wiginton | Times]
SPRING HILL - A slightly winded Juliet Bistran threw her arms up when the treadmill she was walking on beeped to signal that it was about to start slowing to a stop. Her white sneakers, shuffling across the black rubber, slowed accordingly.
"Give me my dollar!" Bistran yelled, flashing a smile at Evergreen Woods Health and Rehabilitation physical therapist Midj Cleto, helping a patient on the treadmill next to her.
Since early November, the 88-year-old Spring Hill resident has been taking part in the facility's new cardiac specialty program.
When she started, Bistran could barely get out of bed, weakened by surgery to implant a pacemaker.
On a recent morning, Cleto offered a dollar bill to Bistran as incentive to complete five minutes of walking on the machine.
"You didn't do five straight minutes," Cleto said, laughing.
"You only said five minutes," Bistran replied, holding her hand out.
The program opened last month within Evergreen Woods' 120-bed nursing facility, providing help for both short-term patients, like Bistran, and for those with illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease.
At the facility, both inpatients and outpatients recovering from heart problems, ranging from heart attacks to bypass surgery and even transplants, get assistance.
"With more hospitals offering procedures like open-heart surgeries in the area, we wanted to help them with their care afterward," said Paula Hartong, cardiac program director. "There's really nothing like this in the area."
So far, 15 inpatients are enrolled in the program, which is split into three phases. First, therapists work with those who have recently suffered from a heart problem, helping them walk through the hallways or get in and out of bed.
Next, patients focus on endurance. Workouts on the treadmills and stationary bicycles are done a few times a week for several minutes at a time.
In the final phase, heart patients are encouraged to return for continuing workouts and get help with keeping up exercise routines at home.
Patients also learn to make lifestyle changes, such as lowering cholesterol, losing weight and developing better diets. Cooking classes will soon begin, along with a cardiac support group and guest speakers to talk about different heart-related issues each month.
Though she looks forward to her release in a few weeks, Bistran said that therapists at Evergreen Woods have gotten her back into shape.
She appreciates what the program has done for her, considering she had no idea it even existed until her doctor referred her.
"The time has flown by," she said. "You spend five minutes here, 10 minutes there, you kid around with these guys, and then you're done. And it's healing."
For more information about the Cardiac Specialty Program at Evergreen Woods Health and Rehabilitation Center, contact the admissions department at (352) 596-8371. The center is at 7045 Evergreen Woods Trail, Spring Hill. Beginning Jan. 8, the cardiac support group will begin meeting, from 10 to 11 a.m. For more information about the group, call (352) 544-7644.