Crows Nest man Allen Parsons has been aided in his recovery by the Medibank Heart Health at Home program.
Crows Nest man Allen Parsons has been aided in his recovery by the Medibank Heart Health at Home program.

Program gives access to cardiac rehab during COVID-19

AFTER suffering a second heart attack in March, Crows Nest man Allen Parsons is back on his feet thanks in part to a telehealth rehabilitation service.

Mr Parsons underwent surgery to place stents in his arteries and then was referred to the Medibank Heart Health at Home program, a service that has experienced increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I didn't fit the normal heart attack mould as I am active, not overweight and don't drink much alcohol, but I wanted to ensure I gave myself the best chance to prevent a third heart attack," Mr Parsons said.

"I've just finished six weeks of the program over the phone, it's been good fun and they've pointed me in the right direction.

"During the pandemic some of the rehabilitation services were paused, so it was lucky this program was operating."

Aided by his wife Barbara, Mr Parsons joined the program to achieve better heart health.

"A few alarm bells came up when we discussed what I was eating," Mr Parsons said.

'I had been eating mainly protein, a lot of bacon and eggs and cheese - so they helped me to change that around.

"I feel like I'm back to where I was before."

The cardiac rehabilitation rate for Medibank's rural customers is less than half that of those who live in metro areas.

Medibank senior executive of member health Rebecca Bell said clinical evidence showed attending cardiac rehabilitation after an acute cardiac event could reduce the chance of death by 30 per cent within a year.

"The goal of the program is to improve access to cardiac rehabilitation so that patients can feel supported in their recovery, better understand and manage their risk factors for cardiovascular disease and take positive steps to reduce their risk of a future cardiovascular event," Ms Bell said.

"Of the more than 20,000 Medibank customers who have their first acute cardiac event each year, 50 per cent have a cardiac-related readmission within the next five years."