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Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2005 Mar;4(1):23-8.

Setting up and auditing guideline- and evidence-based cardiac rehabilitation.

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Oxford University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK.



Rehabilitation is available to only a minority of post-myocardial infarction (MI) patients and is of variable quality. Guidelines now recommend individualised care delivered by hospital, primary care and community services, but there is little evidence of the feasibility, acceptability or effectiveness of this approach.


To demonstrate the feasibility of guideline-based rehabilitation, to audit delivery and outcome and to identify problems.


A four-phase stepped programme for post-MI patients was developed based on individualised in-hospital care and aftercare from a menu of options. Delivery involved co-ordination between hospital services, primary care and community services. Self-report audit data were collected in hospital and at 3 months post-discharge by postal questionnaire and telephone calls. Clinical information was recorded from hospital, telephone and outpatient contacts. Delivery of care to patients receiving interventions was recorded.


It was possible to negotiate individualized plans for all patients and to monitor progress for 3 months after discharge. The rehabilitation team achieved high rates of delivery of agreed interventions, considerably better than delivery by primary care. Problems largely related to difficulties and failures in communication. Patients with major social or psychological difficulties were the most difficult to treat.


Guideline-based rehabilitation is feasible, but there is a need to improve the coordination of delivery of later steps of care and also to refine specialist interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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