Psychosocial Interventions in Cardiac Rehabilitation

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					Category: Preventable Care

Psychosocial Interventions in Cardiac Rehabilitation - ‘Heart In Mind’

Authors: Craig, C & McMahon, S.

Contact: Sharron McMahon, Have a Heart Paisley, Unit 1001, Mile End Mill, Seedhill,
Paisley, PA1 1TJ. Tel: 0141 578 2479, E-Mail:

The development of a training programme for health professionals aimed at increasing
awareness, expertise and confidence in the management of the emotional and psychological
aspects of heart disease. The aims of the training programme are to increase awareness of
psychological issues associated with coronary heart disease so that problems are more
readily identified.

Psychological distress poses a significant risk to mortality and morbidity in patients suffering
from coronary heart disease. It is recognised that identification and treatment of distress are
often overlooked and this is, at least, partially due to a lack of emphasis on recognition of
difficulties and uncertainty about how they might be resolved. In conjunction with NHS Health
Scotland and Have a Heart Paisley, it was proposed that a training programme be developed
to redress the lack of training initiatives which address psychological matters.

Needs assessment was carried out by a series of focus groups targeted at multidisciplinary
health professionals working in both hospital and community settings. Areas of concern and
uncertainty in working with patients’ emotional difficulties were identified and included in
development of the training programme.

The programme itself emphasises the importance of recognising and addressing
psychological aspects of coronary heart disease so that risk factors can be reduced and
treatment adherence enhanced.

Programme format includes topic presentations, video material and various forms of group
exercise. Topics include the importance of psychosocial factors, coping styles, psychological
aspects of recovery, identification and assessment, counselling basics , cognitive behaviour
therapy basics, personality styles, working with groups etc. The training is designed for a
group of eight to twelve individuals over a period of two and a half initial days and with a
follow up half day some three to six weeks later.

The programme has been piloted to multidisciplinary health professionals. Independent
evaluation has confirmed its effectiveness in achieving longer term outcomes in introducing
and enhancing new and existing knowledge, increasing awareness of psychosocial problems
and affirming current practice. Participants’ level of satisfaction with the course was high and
training was effective in delivering changes of practice that were sustained over longer
periods of time.

This training programme was effective in helping to redress the lack of training initiatives
which address psychological matters related to CHD.