It felt like the challenges just kept coming for Mary and Mike McLaughlin.
Mary McLaughlin needed surgery to repair a hole in the macula of her left eye, while her husband needed a lymph node (one of several in his neck that were swollen) repeatedly biopsied.
Mike McLaughlin’s tests came back negative, but results from Mary McLaughlin’s eye surgery required a visit to a cardiologist, ultimately leading to angioplasty. Her cardiologist at St. Luke’s in Boise prescribed rehabilitation at St. Luke’s Magic Valley’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic.
McLaughlin describes her rehab experience as “the best thing that could have happened” because it was available in Twin Falls, making it possible for her to receive care without traveling to Ada County.
The opportunity to have rehabilitation care closer to home was possible for McLaughlin because in October, 2015, St. Luke’s Magic Valley opened a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation clinic on Addison Avenue. In its first year, there have been more than 3,000 patient visits.
“The folks at the cardiopulmonary rehab made me feel special,” she said. “They made me feel like my survival was a reality they were going to help me achieve. They were so welcoming and encouraging, every day, all day.”
Educational sessions available through the clinic have been an added bonus, McLaughlin said.
“They gave me tools to understand what happened to me and how to make the changes in my lifestyle to improve my chances for good heart health,” she explained. “I can't tell you how much my time spent with them has meant to me.”
The clinic will soon expand with the addition of pulmonary rehabilitation services. Funding for these services has been made available through efforts coordinated by the St. Luke’s Magic Valley Health Foundation. The “Epicurean Evening: Idaho” event held Oct. 15 raised the remaining financing needed to implement the services, estimated to cost $500,000.
“Being able to help patients like Mary is the intention of these new services in the Magic Valley. The Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic is all about a better quality of life.” said Dawn Soto, executive director of the St. Luke’s Magic Valley Health Foundation. “Completing the fundraising efforts for the additional pulmonary rehabilitation services will help many in our community stay close to home to rehab, which allows for a better patient experience and lowered readmission rates to the hospital.”
What is Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation?
The goal of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation is to stabilize, slow, or reverse the progression of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. A team of exercise physiologists, nurses, dietitians, and mental health therapists work to create a customized a physical activity and education plan to meet patient’s needs.
“We regularly see patients getting stronger, having more endurance, improving their balance, modifying their eating patterns, and significantly lowering their risk of future events,” said clinic manager Dr. Monique Middlekauff.
Under the direction of cardiologist Dr. Joseph Hymas, the team at cardiopulmonary rehabilitation helps optimize health, improve quality of life, and reduce risk for future events.
“The remarkable statistics we see translate into a higher quality of life. Patients are living with less pain and discomfort,” Middlekauff said. “They feel equipped to face the upcoming years with hope, lower anxiety, and reduced depression. Patients become a part of our family, and it is such an honor to be a part of the improvement that they see as they complete the program.”
Michelle Bartlome is the public relations manager at St. Luke's Magic Valley.