In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, phase 2 and 3 cardiovascular rehabilitation (CR) outpatient face-to-face programs were mandated to cease. In many local health districts (LHDs) the physical space for these programs was used for COVID-19 clinics and program staff were redeployed to work in these clinics, or moved to other clinical areas. Most face-to-face appointments, including exercise and education classes were ceased and alternate options have been used to manage CR patients. A small number of CR programs continued face-to-face appointments and modified their CR service to provide home-walking programs, home visiting and inpatient education with telehealth.
As restrictions change, how cardiac services are delivered needs to align with local infection prevention and control policies and procedures, the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC)
COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Manual and active Public Health Orders, including those involving mask wearing during indoor exercise at gyms. A patient's exercise prescription may need to be modified or reduced if they are struggling to breathe using a mask. However, some LHDs may require individual sign-off for CR programs from chief executives
This document should be read along with LHD, CEC and NSW Ministry of Health (Ministry) policies. As the COVID-19 pandemic situation is evolving, please check the Ministry and CEC Infection Prevention and Control COVID-19 web pages for the most up-to-date information.
This document was developed by the co-leads of the CR Community of Practice in collaboration with the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI), National Heart Foundation of Australia, the CEC and the Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association (ACRA NSW/ACT). This document was reviewed by an expert subgroup of the Community of Practice and an infectious diseases physician.
The information in this document is not meant to be a guideline nor should it supersede NSW Government, NSW Health or a LHD policies.
It is important to know the
latest case locations and alerts in NSW. Cardiac rehabilitation clinicians are advised to check this site regularly for updates. Screening of all staff, visitors and contractors is currently occurring on entry into NSW health facilities. Cardiac rehabilitation clinicians should ask screening questions when appointments are booked and again during a follow-up phone call, preferably 24 hours before the appointment. The patient should be advised not to bring excess belongings to the class.
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Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Communities of Practice.
Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning, NSW Ministry of Health.
Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Community of Practice.