Sentara Martha Jefferson HealthWise: Rehab programs revitalize patients

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab Programs at the Sentara Martha Jefferson Health and Wellness Center have helped many people regain their strength and confidence through exercise and education.

Two participants in particular shared their stories about how the Health and Wellness Center and its programs have helped them on their road to recovery.

About a year ago, Bill Steo was replacing a carburetor on a leaf blower in his basement when he began to feel his chest tighten up.

Steo, a retired biology teacher, realized he was having a heart attack.

"Ambulance came, away I went, came over to Sentara, and in less than an hour and 50 minutes from the onset, I had a stent in. It was amazing," he said.

A few months later, Steo began the Cardiac Rehab Program at Sentara Martha Jefferson’s Health and Wellness Center where his exercise was monitored throughout his 36 sessions.

"We're not advocating that they need to have a medically overseen environment the rest of their life,” Cathy Reece, the Manager of the Rehab Programs, said. “It's really our goal to get them independent, teach them how to manage their disease, how to progress their programs on their own."

Now that Steo has graduated from the program, he continues working out on his own in Adult Fitness and growing the relationships he has formed while there.

"Everybody has a different situation. They'll gauge the exercise to your situation. They will not push you beyond what you should be doing, and you'll be monitored,” Steo said. “I mean, that's a good program, and the staff here is wonderful."

Linda Keeney, a long-time smoker, joined the Pulmonary Rehab Program a few years back after she was diagnosed with emphysema.

She finished her 36 sessions of that program but now after having stents put on her heart, she participates in the Cardiac Rehab Program and is really seeing the benefits.

"A lot more energy, and of course the endorphins kind of increase the outlook on life. It's just generally better, but I feel more confident," Keeney said.

She says she has come a long way from when she first started, and she is grateful for having a supportive staff by her side to guide her through the program.

"We really see people get better. It's very rewarding from a professional standpoint to be able to see patients really progress from a point of helplessness to really independence and being able to own their own health at that point," Reece said.

Steo and Keeney are great examples of how these programs can help your health and overall quality of life.

For more information on the Health and Wellness Center and the programs it offers, check the Related Links box.

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