PURPOSE: Cardiac rehabilitation programs (CRPs) aim to help patients with cardiovascular disease achieve lifestyle changes. However, attendance and completion of programs are poor worldwide. The rationale for this study was to explore patterns of attendance and completion of a CRP located in a private hospital in metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
METHODS: This exploratory descriptive study involved linking 2 databases to analyze demographic and cardiac characteristics of patients who did or did not attend the CRP.
RESULTS: Only 11.9% of patients likely to benefit attended the CRP. Predictors of attendance included marital status, gender, age, and proximity of the program to home. The crucial area identified in need of improvement is the referral process to increase the rate of participation.
CONCLUSION: The major finding is the need for improvement in referral and recruitment structures to increase awareness of the program and the participation rate. Practices such as automatic referral and followup of patients are recommended. The study outcomes will benefit future research on referral processes to the CRP at the hospital.