In 1997, Michael DiPaolo — owner of DiPaolo’s Restaurant and Bar in Penns Grove — had a stent inserted to help his heart do its job. After the operation, he needed cardiac rehabilitation.
He chose SMC’s Cardio-Pulmonary Rehab Department where he was required to exercise three times a week for approximately two months. However, he continued working out here for nearly eight years.
DiPaolo reached a point where he didn’t think he needed to continue coming to SMC to work out.
“I was going to continue exercising on my own, but I didn’t,” DiPaolo said.
Two years ago, he had a minor heart attack. He knew he had to return to the Cardiac Rehab program. He’s been exercising at SMC three times a week ever since.
Patients who work out at SMC have the benefit of being surrounded by nurses who monitor heart rates, breathing, and overall physical reaction to the exercises while the patient is working out.
“I came back because it forces me to exercise,” he said. “You get better attention than at a regular gym, and I just love the nurses here.”
The Cardiac Rehab team of Sharon Kadany, RN, BSN, Margot Desparrois, RN, BSN, and Catherine Buckingham, LPN, led by John Roselli, RRT, Director, Cardiopulmonary and Neurodiagnostic Service, and Manish Dadhania, MD, make it a goal of providing a pleasant atmosphere for their patients.
“Every three months they use the heart monitor to see how my heart is doing,” said DiPaolo, who is now in the maintenance program. “I was monitored today actually, and I’m doing great.”
Kadany said most patients come to Cardiac Rehab after a heart attack or heart operation. Most insurances pay for 24 to 36 visits. If a patient wants to continue, they can join the Maintenance program and pay monthly, similar to an outside gym, but with medical benefits.
“Some patients have been coming for 25 years!” Kadany said. “It’s an upbeat atmosphere up here.”
Wilbur Darling of Mannington had double bypass surgery in late 2019. He started his Cardiac Rehab on Dec. 12, and said his time here has been “Fantastic!”
“I was discouraged because I wasn’t disciplined enough to exercise on my own. I wasn’t making progress,” Darling said. “Now I come here three times a week and I can look back and see improvement every week.”
Darling only has a few required visits left, but isn’t about to leave the program yet.
“My cardiologist said if I stick with this for six months and see it through, I’ll be in better shape than I’ve been in a long time,” he said. “I’m happy to be here because without this program, I wouldn’t do it on my own.”
SMC’s Cardiac Rehab Department was recently accredited by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).
“We worked very hard to get our accreditation,” Kadany said. “It signifies SMC’s commitment to improving the quality of patients’ lives by strengthening standards of care and practices.”
If you or someone you know could benefit from SMC’s Cardio-Pulmonary Rehab program, call 856-339-6071.