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Patient Participation in a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

McDonall, Joanne RN, BN (Hons); Botti, Mari PhD; Redley, Bernice PhD; Wood, Beverley PhD

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention: May/June 2013 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p 185–188
doi: 10.1097/HCR.0b013e318282551a
Brief Reports

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.

Cardiac rehabilitation programs (CRPs) are considered standard care and provide important resources for improving health outcomes for patients with cardiovascular diseases. The objective here was to identify factors associated with CRP participation rate. Findings indicate need for improvement in referral and recruitment structures to increase program awareness and participation rate.

Epworth/Deakin Centre for Clinical Nursing Research, Epworth Healthcare, Richmond, Victoria, Australia.

Correspondence: Joanne McDonall, RN, BN (Hons), Epworth/Deakin Centre for Clinical Nursing Research, 185 Hoddle St, Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.