About the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program

The Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program was designed to provide you with education, counselling, and guided exercise to help lead a healthy and independent lifestyle. We developed our program using the latest information available about cardiovascular disease rehabilitation. Our interprofessional Rehabilitation Team personalizes the program to best suit your goals and abilities.

Joining the program is by referral only from a specialist or your primary care provider (family physician or nurse practitioner). If you do not have a primary care provider, you may also be referred by a physician or nurse practitioner at a walk-in clinic, or by another physician including doctors in the Emergency Department. Generally speaking, people who have suffered a heart attack or similar heart event due to cardiovascular disease can be referred to the program.

Please note that a referral is not a guarantee that you will be accepted into the program. We review each referral to ensure that the person meets the program’s criteria. (Primary care providers or referring specialists can read the complete list of criteria here.

Services are offered through our offices in Thunder Bay as well as 12 sites throughout Northwestern Ontario via the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN).

Our team developed a virtual 12 week program during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was so we could safely offer the same education, counselling, care, and individualized exercise prescription development while also physical distancing. The process (see below) is similar for both the virtual program and the in-person program. In some cases, the program may be offered as a mix of virtual and in-person programming. We will send you information outlining what you can expect once you have been successfully referred to the program.

The Process – Thunder Bay

Step 1 – Orientation

During orientation, you’ll learn all about the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program, what we have to offer, and how to prepare for your upcoming appointments. We’ll also start the education portion of the program, providing you with information about cardiovascular risk factors and what you can start doing to reduce your risk. If you are accessing the program virtually, we’ll explain what’s needed to connect with your team online.

Step 2 – Your Initial Appointment

At your first in-person or virtual appointment, you’ll meet with our Rehabilitation Team including with the program physician or nurse practitioner. During this appointment, we’ll discuss your cardiovascular diagnosis, current medications, and health history, and your goals. We will also take your vital signs and baseline “anthropometric” measurements (your weight, height, waist/hip measurements, etc.). This will help us monitor your progress and help us personalize your exercise program.

Step 3 – Complete a Regular Exercise Stress Test (If Required)

Your Rehabilitation Team may order a “regular exercise stress test” for you. This test measures any changes in your heart during regular exercise and is supervised by a healthcare team for safety. Not all participants will require a regular exercise stress test. Your Rehabilitation Team will discuss the test with you in greater detail if need be.

Step 4 – Exercise Program

Setting SMART Goals is the first step when meeting your case manager. You will start attending regular exercise sessions using our dedicated, high-end equipment. Your Rehabilitation Team will monitor you as you complete aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility exercises. Your exercise program will be personalized to meet your goals and abilities. If your exercise program is offered virtually, we will provide you with guidance and monitor your progress and review your SMART goals during your virtual appointments.

Education and Counselling Services

Your Rehabilitation Team will provide education and counselling services available throughout your program. Group education sessions (in person or virtual using the Cisco Webex platform) are scheduled weekly throughout the program with every member of your rehabilitation team. Counselling services consist of one-on-one sessions with our registered dietitian and registered social worker. Counselling sessions are by appointment only and can be booked through our program receptionist directly at (807) 684-6780.

Your Rehabilitation Team will provide education and counselling services available throughout the program. Counselling services consist of one-on-one sessions with our registered dietitian, registered social worker, registered kinesiologists, and guest speakers. Group education sessions are scheduled weekly throughout the program, while one-on-one counselling sessions are scheduled by appointment only. Counselling sessions are by appointment only while group sessions are scheduled weekly. You may bring a friend or family member to any education or counselling session for support and to take notes if that is helpful for you.

Counselling Session Appointments

Please click the link below to see this month’s schedule for sessions. Information about group session times are in the next section titled “Class Schedule”.

Counselling Sessions

Education Class Schedule

Participants attend education classes two times per week at the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program offices. We will send you a list of class times once you’ve been accepted into the program. You may be able to choose the schedule that suits you best, though please be aware that there may be a waitlist for certain class times and days depending on how many people have signed up already. Please call our program receptionist directly at (807) 684-6780 if you have any questions about class schedules.

The Process – Outside of Thunder Bay

The Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program is available at 12 sites throughout Northwestern Ontario via the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). Please contact us to find out more about a program location close to you and information on how to attend these sessions. A full list of our program sites are on the Contact page here.