Revamping Orientation, Promoting Transparency

Cardiac Rehab2 (1)

Cardiac Rehab PFSAC Celebrates Three Successful Years

The Cardiac Rehab Patient Family Staff Advisory Council (PFSAC) has been working on creating a more patient-centered rehab experience since its start in late 2011. The committee was the brainchild of Linda Larin, CVC chief administrative officer and long-time PFCC champion. She and Theresa Gracik, UM’s Cardiac Rehab Program Director, formed the committee initially to help create a sustainable cardiac rehab support group. However, once the committee began to meet, Theresa said a big challenge was deciding where to start.

“It was clear that our original task of creating a support group needed to wait due to bigger issues raised by the patients on the committee,” she said. The first thing the committee tackled was Cardiac Rehab’s orientation.

“Orientation was a paperwork nightmare with little interaction,” said PFCC Advisor Tim Cusatis. “The PFCC version of orientation is very interactive between patient to patient and patient to staff. It gives the patient a greater comfort level entering into their rehab experience.”

PFCC Advisor Greg Merritt added, “A big change was to dramatically decrease the amount of paperwork and change the format so it allows patients to describe their story/heart event. It provides an opportunity to share their feelings.”

The committee also worked to demystify what happens in the fitness room and increase the transparency about what the exercise physiologists are looking for and monitor.

Eventually, the PFSAC created a thriving support group, as well as continued wellness coaching post-cardiac rehab. They created a PFCC communication board and a Facebook page for cardiac rehab patients and staff.

This year, a subcommittee is focusing on creating better awareness of the benefits of cardiac rehab before planned procedures and surgeries, “so it is understood that rehab is part of the whole process of getting better,” said Gracik. In addition, they are working on revamping the exit interview.

Gracik’s advice for newly formed committees is to “take it slowly. Listen carefully. Be open-minded. Don’t do too much at once. Communicate. Communicate. ”

Tim said to “stay PFCC focused and make sure changes are beneficial for both the patient and staff.”

Many of the members of the Cardiac Rehab PFSAC have served since 2011. For Greg, who credits the CVC and cardiac rehab with saving his life, “I felt obligated to do something to ‘give back’ for the great work that all of the health care providers did.”  

“I truly believe the changes this group is working on are going to make our program second to none.”

Tim Cusatis, PFCC Advisor

“I saw an opportunity to improve on what was already a great program, and hope to give back to both the future patients and staff who care so deeply about us.”

Greg Merritt, PFCC Advisor

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