Northern Hospital of Surry County will be adding a cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation center this spring, thanks to a quarter of a million dollar grant.
Ned Hill, CEO at Northern, said the hospital hopes to have the center up and running by April. The initial funds for the project are available as a result of the hospital being awarded a $250,000 grant from Duke Endowment Fund.
Hill said the new operation will make services integral to those who have suffered a cardio-pulmonary event available in the local community.
“This will be of great benefit to the people in this area,” remarked Hill.
Hill noted more than 20,000 people per year suffer from a cardiac event such as a heart attack or need some sort of cardiac intervention like a stint. Currently, those folks must travel to the Winston-Salem area to receive cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation.
“They have to travel two or three times a week,” explained Hill. “Many stop going once they start feeling better.”
Hill said because those patients don’t see their rehabilitation to an end, they often end up back where they started — with another cardiac event.
Once the cardiac rehabilitation is offered in Mount Airy, Hill suspects more patients will be devoted to seeing their recovery to completion. In cardiac rehabilitation, patients are constantly monitored, so as to assure continued progression in strengthening the heart muscle.
It’s not much different from an athletic injury, said Hill. When a muscle is hurt it must be strengthened through rehabilitation before an athlete makes it back to 100 percent. The heart is no different.
Once their cardiac rehabilitation is complete, Hill noted patients may be referred to Northern Wellness and Fitness Center for continued progression.
Hill said the hospital has received the funds from Duke. Thus, work will soon begin to turn a section of the hospital’s third floor, the former Parc Unit, into a facility in which the rehabilitation will be offered. That unit hasn’t been used in six to seven years.
“These are our start-up funds,” said Hill in explaining the unit will be self-funding once it is up and running.
As another advantage for the community, Hill said the new unit will create a number of jobs. Though a cardiologist is already in place, the hospital is looking to hire cardiac rehabilitation nurses, exercise physiologists, managers and receptionists.
“We are putting those people in place right now,” added Hill.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.