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Patients get active in the Heather Schols Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Dec 28, 2018, 14:09 PM

Just a few weeks after suffering a heart attack and having four stents placed in the arteries feeding his heart, Tom Yaun of Mount Vernon was on the treadmill in the Heather Schols Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Skagit Regional Health.

After attending the customized exercise program three days a week for several weeks, Yaun said he could feel his strength increasing.

“This is really great. You get a chance to test out your endurance,” Yaun said. “You have a heart attack and you don’t know where you’re at or how much to push yourself. Here, you can exercise, be monitored and do it safely.”

The program teaches patients to be more active and to make lifestyle changes that can lead to a stronger heart and better health. It is designed to help patients recover from a heart attack, heart disease, or surgery and to reduce their risk of future heart problems.

“I think it helps build up endurance more than anything,” said Keith Jacobsen of Sedro-Woolley, who had a stent placed last June and was participating in his 18th session of cardiac rehab. “I’ve lived in the valley for years and didn’t know about this program. I’m glad it’s here.”

In addition to the benefits of the education about heart health, diet, exercise and medications, Yaun said his morning workouts are fun.

“They’re all fun people here,” he said.

Patients often rave about the comforting atmosphere and develop new friendships while meeting other patients who are in a similar situation, said Jeff Rhodes, coordinator of the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Heart Healthy Fitness Program.

The new state-of-the-art Heather Schols Cardiac Rehabilitation Program and the Mark Iverson Cardiac Rehabilitation Gym were created through the generosity of donors to the Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation. A total of $410,000 was raised to build and equip the center.

“Everybody here really appreciates this program and the good work by the community,” Yaun said.

“Our new facility has been absolutely fantastic,” Rhodes said. “Because of the increase in space and reliable equipment, we have had a 40 percent increase in patient visits since moving in and have hired additional staff. We cannot thank our community supporters enough.”


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