Navigation Links
SMART heart eases heart ache, targets cardiac patients' emotional well-being
Date:4/12/2012

CHICAGOTwo years ago, 57-year-old Allus Brown underwent a simultaneous heart-kidney transplant and spent months in and out of the hospital after battling dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that enlarges and weakens the heart. Now fully recovered, Brown is still in and out of Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute each week. Only nowadays when he visits, he's laughing it up, playing board games, and sharing accounts of his own struggles with heart disease as part of the Bluhm Institute's new and innovative program, SMART Heart, stress management and recreational therapy for heart patients. Brown says he thrives in his new role because it's one way he can give back and help others coping with the emotional aftermath of cardiac surgery.

"What I like most about being a SMART heart volunteer is that it truly focuses on being happy and doing things that can bring about happiness," says Brown, a Marine Corps veteran and former athlete.

According to Kim Feingold, PhD, director of Cardiac Behavioral Medicine at Northwestern's Bluhm Institute, most cardiac programs only focus on the physical aspects of recovery following heart surgery. But an emotional comeback is just as important.

"Few people recognize the significant psychological burden associated with heart surgery," she says. "Two out of five cardiac patients are clinically depressed, which makes them less likely to comply with recommended care and puts them at significant risk for complications, even death."

SMART Heart focuses on improving quality of life and the management of stress for cardiac surgical patients. The program incorporates games, movies, books and other entertainment activities into patients' hospital stays following heart surgery. The goal is to spark relaxation, laughter and enjoyment for these patients as a way to help fend-off the onset of psychological illnesses like depression, anxiety and stress, which are quite common among heart surgery patients compared to patients who have had other types of surgeries.

As Feingold explains, research shows that depressed patients are more likely to smoke, eat an unhealthy diet, remain inactive and consume alcohol. These unhealthy lifestyle choices are detrimental to physical recovery, as studies also show a direct correlation between psychological wellbeing and good health. This only underscores the importance of planting seeds for emotional recovery during a heart patient's hospital stay.

Every Monday night, Brown spends hours on a cardiac inpatient floor at Northwestern Memorial. First, he prepares his "SMART Heart cart" filled with books, DVDS, games and music. Then, he makes rounds to patient rooms, sometimes visiting 30 or more as he distributes the entertaining goodies. Brown often sits a while with patients, watching movies. And, you can always find him sharing a personal story of heart diseasesomething he says he is fortunate to do from the perspective of having "won his battle".

"If talking to patients and sharing my journey eases their minds about having a transplant or bouncing back after heart surgery, then I have done my job," said Brown.

Cardiac patient Brian Stringfellow agrees. During his hospital stay as he recovered from surgery, Brown wheeled by his room with the SMART Heart cart. Stringfellow says meeting Brown was a "welcome surprise."

"I worried that I might be a little bored just sitting in the hospital," Stringfellow says. "When you have down time, your mind wanders to 'what if this' and 'what if that.' Spending time with Allus and hearing about what he had to go through has given me strength to know I can do it too."

"Laughter can truly be the best medicine," adds Feingold. "While on the road to physical recovery, we know it's critically important to focus on emotional recovery. This program focuses on reducing the emotional backlash of heart surgery, which opens the door to educating patients about management of their disease and consequently improving cardiac outcomes."


'/>"/>

Contact: Colleen Sheehan
csheehan@nmh.org
312-926-7769
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Cook With Love This Valentines Day With Heart-Smart Recipes
2. ANT+ and Texas Instruments connect proven ultra low power sensors to smartphones
3. Hollywood-Style Liposuction Comes to DC: Chevy Chase Smartlipo Brings Revolutionary Laser-Assisted Liposuction to DC Metro Area
4. Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
5. State of Oregon Department of Human Services Selects Netsmart Technologies for Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare Integration Project
6. SSI Announces Its Fourth Generation Revenue Cycle Management Technology, ClickON ClaimSmart Suite
7. Brain Cancer Survivor Will Cycle 4,170 Miles Across USA to Outsmart Disease
8. Conference Focuses on Aligning Two Smartest, Most Expensive Operations
9. SDI Reports: Nearly a Third Of Physicians Use Handheld and Smartphone Devices to Access Medical Information - Physicians Most Likely to be Using Apple iPhone
10. Smart Balance to Present at Roth Growth Stock Conference
11. PA Hypnosis Center Uses 'Smart Training' Sports Psychology for Gold Medal Success
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... First ... United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell ... facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a ... the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who ... , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the tendency to set ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, ... at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his ... it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA ... the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer ... ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... proud to recognize Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and ... women in the world, and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ., ... developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that it was ... Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of U.S. and ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief ... shareholder awareness of our progress in developing drugs for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... KNOXVILLE, Tenn. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market providing less invasive and more durable cerebrospinal ... million in funding.  The Series-A funding is led ... the Lighthouse Fund, and other private investors.  Arkis, ... less-invasive neurosurgical instrumentation and the market release of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Dialysis Devices Global Market - Forecast to 2022" report ... is the treatment method for the patients with kidney failure, ... and excess fluid from the patient,s blood and thus the ... sodium, potassium and chloride in balance. Increasing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: