HATTIESBURG- On October 31, staff members in Forrest General’s CardioPulmonary Rehabilitation program will join new and longtime patients in celebrating 20 years of service to the Pine Belt.
Forrest General’s CardioPulmonary Rehab program is nationally-certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) and is part of the LiveWell Center of Forrest General. The center offers rehabilitation options for cardiac and pulmonary patients including both inpatient and outpatient programs that are designed to guide patients through the lifestyle changes that heart and lung disease can bring. The rehab department consists of a multidisciplinary staff including exercise physiologists, registered nurses, registered respiratory therapists, registered dietitians, mental health counselors and smoking cessation coaches. Patients can also receive diabetes education, provided by expert personnel in the Diabetes Care Center.
Forrest General’s CardioPulmonary Rehab program admitted its first patient on October 31, 1990 and provided care for patients in several locations before settling in its current home at Forrest General’s LiveWell Center on Highway 49 South. In 1990, the concept of rehabilitation therapy for cardiac and pulmonary diseases was relatively new, but important, thanks to research proving that managing patients’ lifestyles through exercise and diet modification could change their life.
Pictured, first row from left are CardioPulmonary Rehabilitation staff members Jeanne Carlson, Director; Richard Galloway, M.D., Medical Director; Annette Gilmore, Secretary and Micki Ryals, Inpatient Nurse Educator. Pictured second row from left are Gwen Ellzey, RRT; Lisa Parker, RD; Jill Fiala, Exercise Physiologist and Linda Howell, Phase II Nurse Coordinator.
“I’ve been working with Cardiopulmonary Rehab patients and their families for 16 years,” said Jeannie Carlson, Director of Forrest General’s LiveWell Center. “It is such a joy to be able to educate and work with them on getting better after they have had a heart or lung problem, but even more so, to help them learn skills that help them continue to live well for the rest of their lives. What we do is not a job, it is a passion. Each one of us looks forward to the new and exciting challenges that go along with our work. We know that what we do matters.”
Today, the program sees approximately 40-50 patients a day who come in to exercise and be monitored, with most of those patients coming three times per week to the facility. Whether patients are new to the program or have been involved since its inception like patients Frank Franklin, Joyce and Ralph Davis, Dick Jordan or Johnny McArthur, they are always ready to offer touching testimony to the impact this program has, including its caring staff. “Mentally, Pulmonary Rehab helped me because I walked in and quickly realized these people cared,” said long-time patient Frank Franklin of Hattiesburg. “The wonderful, caring staff and other patients were an incentive for me to get motivated. Physically, Pulmonary Rehab helped me to become more self efficient. I can walk longer without having to take a break and I am able to do the things I want to do more easily. The number one thing CardioPulmonary Rehab and LiveWell have to offer is the strength you gain from the staff and other patients.”
Many different patients can benefit from Forrest General’s Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation programs, including those patients who have had a recent heart attack, open heart surgery, valve replacement, cardiac stent, angioplasty, cardiac transplant or previous balloon procedure, or who have stable angina, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema or restrictive lung disease. Admission to this program requires a physician’s referral, and most insurance companies reimburse for the program’s charges.
For more information on this or other Forrest General LiveWell or rehabilitation programs, call FGH OnCall at 1-800-844-4445 or visit forrestgeneral.com.