MetroHealth Parma Medical Center’s just-opened rehab gym is bringing a whole new energy to helping people recover from heart and lung procedures and illnesses. Find out if cardiac rehab is right for you.
Patients come to the new Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehab Unit at Parma Medical Center to get stronger.
They know that rehab involves exercise. They expect rows of treadmills and racks of weights. They don’t necessarily expect to have fun. But that’s exactly what happens.
“Patients say it feels like they’re attending a party, not going to a class,” says Carl Blatnik, Lead Exercise Physiologist for the Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehabilitation Unit. “We play music and try to keep the mood lighthearted.”
Triple the size of the former unit at Main Campus, the new gym is open, bright, and stocked with new equipment, some of it specialized for people with movement limitations. There’s also a walking track.
Other benefits: the ground-floor location and ample free parking. “This is so much more accessible for people,” says Blatnik.
Who Comes to Rehab?
A variety of people are candidates for cardiac rehab, says Blatnik. Many of the patients he sees – who range in age from 30 to 95 – have had heart failure, heart attacks, stents, valve replacements, or bypass surgery. There’s also pulmonary rehab tailored for people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or the long-term effects of COVID-19. He’s also seen more patients who have had lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS), a procedure that helps people breathe better.
What Happens in Cardiac or Pulmonary Rehab?
Patients start on an exercise program based on their immediate goals but also to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle.
There’s also a classroom component for each session, where patients learn about different topics related to heart and lung health. They get tips about healthy eating and getting more steps in their daily lives outside of rehab. They might also discuss longer-term goals, like enjoying different activities, traveling, and just enjoying time with family.
Blatnik’s favorite thing is when graduates of the program stop in. “They’ll say, ‘Thanks for being my jumpstart,’” he says. Cardiac or pulmonary rehab isn’t just about counting the reps or increasing the miles. It’s about building people’s confidence.
Lead Exercise Physiologist
Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation Unit