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Ribbon-cutting event to be held to celebrate improved access for patients

Feb. 25, 2014  — Patients in Durham Region will now have greater access to the regional cardiovascular rehabilitation and secondary prevention service thanks to the addition of three new sites in Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa.

Cardiovascular rehabilitation is a supervised service that: helps to improve the health of patients who have established vascular disease; have had a cardiac procedure, such as a bypass or angioplasty; or who are at high risk of developing a cardiovascular disease. The Central East Regional Cardiac Care Program offers a leading, six-month cardiovascular rehab and secondary prevention service for patients in Scarborough and Durham through a partnership between Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS) and Lakeridge Health. This service is offered at no charge to patients, and includes supervised exercise plans that are individualized for each patient, along with education classes, counseling and support.

"Cardiovascular secondary preventative services are the standard of care for all patients with established vascular disease — including not just heart disease, but heart failure, stroke, chronic kidney disease, peripheral vascular disease and complicated diabetics as well," explains Dr. Joe Ricci, medical manager of the regional cardiovascular rehabilitation program, and medical director of the cardiac care program at RVHS. "Studies have shown that cardiovascular rehabilitation can reduce death rates by 20 to 30 per cent, and reduce the number of people who need to be hospitalized also by 20 to 30 per cent."

More locations means easier access to services

Since July 2011, the regional service has more than doubled, adding three new sites with more in discussion. The expansion of the program has been made possible thanks to funding by the Central East Local Health Integration Network.

There are now seven regional cardiovascular rehab sites across Scarborough and Durham Region:

  • Scarborough – Rouge Valley Centenary, 2867 Ellesmere Road
  • Ajax – Ajax Community Centre, 75 Centennial Road (new)
  • Whitby – Abilities Centre, 55 Gordon Street (new)
  • Oshawa – Oshawa Civic Complex, 99 Thornton Road South; Oshawa Legends Centre, 1661 Harmony Road North (new)
  • Bowmanville – Bowmanville Indoor Soccer Complex, 2375 Baseline Road West
  • Port Perry – Scugog Community Recreation Centre, 1655 Reach Street

"We know that distance is a barrier to access, so multiple sites make it easier for those who really need this service to participate. By making services more accessible, we can help to improve the outcomes for our patients," says Dr. Ricci. "No matter where the patient is, they have the same access to secondary preventative service as anyone else in the region. They are receiving the same quality of care."

More than 2,200 patients already receive this care each year. The goal is to continue expanding in order to serve the 5,000 patients in Scarborough and Durham estimated to need this life-saving service.

Services are standardized across all sites, with Rouge Valley Centenary serving as the central hub for booking and administration. To participate in the regional cardiovascular rehab at one of the sites, a physician completes the standardized referral form, which can be faxed to 416-281-7280.

About the Central East Regional Cardiac Care Program

The Central East Regional Cardiac Care Program consists of a highly qualified and experienced team of more than 20 cardiologists and over 100 health professionals, who serve the communities of the Scarborough-Durham area. The regional program delivers a wide range of cardiac services, including life-saving cardiac catheterization and intervention procedures; arrhythmia studies (irregular heartbeat) and management; and cardiovascular rehabilitation and education. Rouge Valley Health System is the designated cardiac care centre for the regional program, delivering care in partnership with The Scarborough Hospital, Lakeridge Health, and the Central East Local Health Integration Network.