Cardiopulmonary rehab team creates fun environment to help patients reach their goals

Spend a little time with Jared Rogers and Nancy Gibson and you learn one thing very quickly: they like to smile and have fun.  Their natural exuberance helps cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation patients thrive at Norton King’s Daughters’ Health.

“We work on creating an environment that people enjoy,” Jared said. “Helping people find success is a great gift.  I’ve always liked working toward something.  When we help people achieve their goals, that’s meaningful.”

Jared Rogers, Norton KDH Cardiopulmonary Rehab

For Nancy, coaching patients comes naturally.  She and her husband, Ed, owned a gym in Merrillville, Indiana for 26 years, teaching gymnastics.  A college gymnast herself, Nancy said she has been a coach most of her life and considers working with patients to be much the same.

“What I find with cardiac rehab is that I am able to still coach people and help build them up,” Nancy said. “I love talking to patients and getting to know their stories.  We can make the process fun!”

Jared joined Norton KDH after earning his degree in Exercise Science from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.  His mother, Jane, began her career as a physical education teacher, so Jared learned the value of activity and exercise at an early age.

“Cardiopulmonary rehab gives me an opportunity to apply my education and help people feel more confident,” he said.  “It’s enjoyable to see someone take something we work on here and apply it elsewhere, taking responsibility for positive change.”

Given that most rehabilitation patients enter the program following a significant heart or lung-related event or diagnosis, those changes improve lives. 

Jared and Nancy both believe in helping patients set goals.  Goals weave meaning and purpose into the rehabilitation process.  One of their most common goals?  Patients want to walk over the Ohio River Bridge connecting Madison, Indiana and Milton, Kentucky.

“We help patients improve physical activity and quality of life in many ways,” Jared said.

The program integrates aerobic exercise using treadmills, recumbent bicycles and step machines, along with other tools.  Jared and Nancy also provide education regarding nutrition, weight management, blood pressure control, tobacco cessation and medication adherence. 

The fun aspects of care also support psychosocial health.

“You can see such an improvement from start to finish,” Nancy said. “I have found that cardiac rehabilitation makes a difference for the whole person.  I enjoy watching the camaraderie with the whole group who often share similar circumstances.”

Further testament of Jared and Nancy’s success: the number of patients who choose to continue with classes after graduating.  Jared estimates between 15 to 20 percent of patients choose to join Phase 3 of the program, which patients pay for themselves.  Some have additional goals.  Some simply enjoy exercising with friendly faces.

“The real benefits of the Phase 3 program include continuing with their new habit of exercise,” Nancy said.  “They become a member of a new group of friends.  This can greatly help with the mental issues and depression often associated with cardiac problems.”

From Jared’s point of view, exercise is medicine.

“Choosing to live a physically active lifestyle, coupled with a consistent exercise routine, is one of the most powerful things a person can do to improve all aspects of their health,” Jared said. “Our maintenance program provides a high-value way to continue their exercise routine in a medically supervised setting.  Our social environment also helps patients stay motivated.”

Learn more about Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Norton KDH.

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