Cardiac rehabilitation helps people who have recently had a heart event, procedure or the diagnosis of a heart condition to rebuild health-related quality of life, stay out of hospital and reduce the risk of future health complications.
Hospital and community-based health programs provide physical activity, education and support, working alongside patient’s GPs and cardiologists. Outpatient cardiac rehabilitation usually commences soon after discharge from hospital:
- of 49,900 eligible patients assessed in 2013–2015, 30% were referred to cardiac rehabilitation, and of these 28% attended (Astley et al. 2020)
- in 2020–21 there were 215,000 cardiac rehabilitation service events conducted by allied health and/or clinical nurse specialists, lower than the 272,000 events in 2019–20 (AIHW 2022).
A set of indicators to evaluate cardiac rehabilitation performance has recently been developed (NHF 2019, Gallagher et al. 2020).
‘I always say, “you’re the CEO in charge of your own body”, you need to take control. Cardiac rehab provided me with the structure to get back to the activities I used to do.’
Cyril survived a heart attack and said cardiac rehab changed his life.
Stroke rehabilitation helps stroke survivors to relearn and maintain their skills and functioning. It also seeks to protect them from developing new medical problems.
Therapy often begins in hospital soon after the condition has stabilised. It can continue out-of-hospital, through attending outpatient units, or participating in home-based rehabilitation programs.
- in 2019, there were 9,400 patients in surveyed hospitals who required stroke rehabilitation services, accounting for 30% of all inpatient stroke admissions
- of a group of 2,800 stroke survivors assessed before hospital discharge in 2019, 64% were referred for further rehabilitation in the community (Stroke Foundation 2020).
The National Stroke Audit reviews in-hospital rehabilitation services biennially to promote the delivery of evidence-based stroke care (Stroke Foundation 2020).
AIHW 2022. MyHospitals. Non-admitted patients. Non-admitted patient care 2020–21 tables. Table 3.6. Canberra: AIHW.
Astley CM, Chew DP, Keech W, Nicholls S, Beltrame J, Horsfall M et al. 2020. The impact of cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention programs on 12-month clinical outcomes: a linked data analysis. Heart, Lung and Circulation 29: 475–82.
Gallagher R, Ferry C, Candelaria D, Ladak L & Zecchin R 2020. Evaluation of cardiac rehabilitation performance and initial benchmarks for Australia: an observational cross-state and territory snapshot study. Heart, Lung and Circulation.
NHF 2019. National cardiac rehabilitation quality indicators. Canberra: National Heart Foundation of Australia.
Stroke Foundation 2020. National Stroke Audit—rehabilitation services report 2020. Melbourne: Stroke Foundation.