Cardiac rehabilitation

There are 4 recognised phases of recovery after a heart attack. These are:

  • Phase I: inpatient stage. During this phase medical evaluation, reassurance and education, risk factor assessment, mobilisation and planning for discharge home are the main goals.
  • Phase II: is the early post discharge period before the start of any formal exercise programme. This is a time when many people feel isolated and insecure. Support can be provided by home visits from your GP or nurse, telephone contact etc.
  • Phase III: the period following discharge when it is appropriate for a formal cardiac rehabilitation programme to begin. This is usually from 6 weeks onwards after a heart attack.
  • Phase IV: the moving on stage. During this stage people are encouraged to make, and maintain, adjustments towards a healthier more active lifestyle. Heart support groups, local leisure services and exercise programmes are promoted. Contact the Advice Line nurses for details of our affiliated heart groups across Scotland. These may be particularly helpful if you enjoyed the support of your peers during your rehabilitation.
Cardiac rehabilitation in action

Cardiac rehabilitation in action

Cardiac rehabilitation programme

  • The aim of cardiac rehabilitation is to support you in your recovery by providing you with the information and emotional support you need to develop your own self-management skills, to pace your recovery and regain your fitness and confidence.
  • It combines physical recovery with education about lifestyle risk factors, information about any drugs you have been prescribed and emotional support. It can also be helpful for your family and friends.
  • Your local trained health professional (often a nurse) will assess you to provide your own individual programme, whatever your level of fitness. The time frame for starting cardiac rehabilitation varies but you are normally ready to begin a few weeks after your heart attack.
  • What format cardiac rehabilitation takes varies across Scotland. Some programmes take place in a hospital or community setting. Alternatively, your cardiac rehabilitation may be provided as a home-based programme you manage yourself with local support from your cardiac rehabilitation nurse or your GP.
  • Some kind of support manual is usually provided containing written information and advice about all aspects of your recovery. An example of this would be the Heart Manual.
  • If you are not offered any formal cardiac rehabilitation ask your GP if there is something you could attend locally.
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