People who have had surgery or a severe cardiovascular disease cannot accurately judge their physical strength and level of fitness. Cardiovascular rehabilitation increases patients’ stamina in a controlled environment, which in turn boosts their confidence. This is particularly true for patients with several existing illnesses that require interdisciplinary medical care.

Rehabilitation is an important part of the healthcare system that can be carried out in inpatient and outpatient settings. Yet rehabilitation measures are very different from the medical care typically provided in hospitals or by family doctors.

Muscle development training in inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation

Cardiovascular rehabilitation focuses on improving the patient’s prognosis. In other words, it aims to help the patient live a longer life and enjoy the best possible quality of life. Cardiovascular patients are treated using medication while they are in hospital. This should be followed by targeted cardiovascular training to rebuild the patient’s strength and stamina. Training takes place in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. Cardiologists precisely define which exercises should be completed, as well as the rate at which the intensity should be gradually increased.

An essential part of rehab: controlled increases in exercise intensity

Specially qualified physiotherapists and sports therapists help patients complete training sessions using modern gym equipment, which are designed to build up their stamina. The training programme for inpatient rehabilitation also includes individual or group therapies, often featuring cardio-specific stretching exercises, carefully controlled strength exercises and endurance training. Patients also complete physiotherapy exercises and receive psychological support if required.

Supplementary courses for long-term recovery

Seminars about illness-related topics such as quitting smoking, nutrition and stress management can be incorporated into the recovery process during inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. Patients are taught how to deal calmly with stressful situations in everyday life. These seminars are complemented by lectures and discussions that further familiarise patients with ways to implement lifestyle changes and embrace exercise.

An overview of the three types of rehabilitation

Early rehabilitation

Early rehabilitation is specially tailored to the particular needs of patients who are severely impaired by illness and not yet medically stable, which means they require more intensive monitoring and medical care. The therapeutic measures are adjusted to suit the patient’s limited physical strength and fitness level and are often carried out in private sessions in the patient’s room. In general, intensive early rehabilitation is followed by an inpatient rehabilitation programme that builds on the prior training and is adapted to suit the patient’s individual abilities.

Outpatient rehabilitation

An operation or severe heart disease inevitably leads to feelings of uncertainty. This in turn often causes patients to be overly cautious in relation to movement and exercise, which is the opposite of what they should be doing. It is essential for the heart muscle to be strengthened through a series of strictly controlled exercises. Outpatient rehabilitation is an ideal way to achieve this and it also enables patients to continue living at home instead of staying at a clinic. Outpatient services also include individual consultations and courses about how to quit smoking or change your eating habits. Outpatient rehabilitation is a viable option if the disease or functional disorder is less severe, or if the patient has already completed an inpatient rehabilitation programme.

Inpatient rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabilitation is recommended for patients who have suffered a heart attack, had an operation on their heart or major blood vessels, or if they have multiple risk factors and so on. The criteria for inpatient rehabilitation include the severity of the disease or functional disorder, the required intensity of the therapy and the degree of medical care and support required by the patient. Inpatient rehabilitation also reduces patients’ exposure to factors that could cause stress and the rehabilitation clinic’s pleasant atmosphere, hotel-style services and catering further aids the recovery process.

This article about musculoskeletal rehabilitation was written by Klinik Schloss Mammern.