A Gym for Healing

A state-of-the-art rehabilitation center promotes a swift recovery from heart and lung diseases. 

Thanks to cardiac rehab, Jay Lassman is active again

When Jay Lassman’s physician recommended cardiac rehabilitation after he was hospitalized for congestive heart failure last March, he was skeptical. He was having trouble walking even short distances, so he didn’t think he would be able to participate in gym workouts three times a week. “I wasn’t sure what good it would do,” admits Jay, 76, of Morganville.

But he was encouraged when he walked into the newly renovated Joel Opatut Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC). Thanks to a generous grant from an anonymous donor, the 4,000-square-foot gym now features the newest exercise equipment. “Our goal was to create a state-of-the-art, high-tech facility that will enhance patients’ workouts and enable older people to achieve their fitness goals through low-impact exercise equipment,” says Marietta Datar, Program Director of the Center.

Jay started off performing exercises for about six minutes at a low-intensity setting on each of the machines. After a few months, he had worked up to 15 minutes at higher-resistance settings on most machines.Then he began weight training. “Much to my surprise, I felt better within a week or two of starting the Center’s program,” says Jay.

High-quality care

The Joel Opatut Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center is the first in Monmouth County to be certified for both cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, a national organization dedicated to improving patient care. This means the facility meets the highest standards of care, which includes staff certification and preparedness for medical emergencies.

Sharon Holden, AVP, Cardiopulmonary, Critical Care, Emergency and Renal Services; Kenneth Granet, MD, Chair of Medicine; Ajay Shah, MD, Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation; and Isaac Tawfi k, MD, Chief of Cardiology.Rehabilitation helps cardiac patients rebuild strength after they’ve had a heart attack, heart failure or a cardiac surgery or procedure, says Ajay Shah, MD, Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at MMC and a member of Barnabas Health Medical Group. In addition to exercise, cardiac rehab involves counseling on nutrition, smoking cessation and stress reduction. “Cardiac rehab can help relieve symptoms such as chest pain and fatigue, improve mood, boost energy, enhance quality of life and reduce the risk of future heart problems,” says Dr. Shah. “In fact, studies have found that it decreases a patient’s chances of death in the next five years by up to 30 percent.”

Less than a year after he was hospitalized, Jay is back to his routine of walking three miles daily. “I credit my progress to not only a cardiac rehab regimen designed for me but also the Center’s dedicated personnel,” says Jay.

Your heart doesn’t beat just for you. Get it checked. To reach a Monmouth Medical Center cardiac specialist click here or call 888.724.7123.