What We Do

The Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program at Toronto Western Hospital uses a 3-phased approach incorporating education, assessment and exercise into the program.

Phase 1: Educati​​on Day

The Education Day provides you with the tools needed to begin your Cardiac Rehabilitation journey. During this session, you will meet the different members of the team and learn about:

  • The risk factors for cardiovascular disease
  • The role of nutrition and medications
  • How exercise is an important component in the journey to regain health and well-being

Phase 2: Intake Assessment Clinic

The Intake Assessment Clinic is located at Toronto Western Hospital. A comprehensive assessment provides your health care team with important information about your diagnosis and treatments to date. As part of your assessment, you will also complete a stress test to assess your cardiovascular fitness and to guide your exercise prescription.

Phase 3: Exercise and Education

The exercise and education component takes place on the 7th floor of the Fell Wing at Toronto Western Hospital. You will attend classes once per week. You will be asked to exercise at home and keep a weekly exercise diary to help track your progress. The interdisciplinary team will work closely with you to help you achieve your goals and progress safely.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in Canada. A previous cardiovascular incident puts you at risk for future problems and even an early death. Participating in cardiovascular rehabilitation can reduce the odds of dying from another heart attack or stroke by 50%.

Building on an educational curriculum to assist in achieving health behaviour change, the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program is committed to helping you:

  • Take charge of your medical condition
  • Develop strategies to improve your risk factors for cardiovascular disease
  • Maintain an exercise program to improve your health and well being
  • Incorporate healthy food choices and practices to manage your health and well being
  • Develop strategies to manage your psychosocial risks for cardiovascular disease

The program will help you learn the skills to live and thrive with your cardiovascular condition. Using the Cardiac College – Living and Thriving with Cardiovascular Disease as a framework for discussion and behaviour change, the program staff will work with you to meet your goals.

We take an approach that combines exercise and education to help you make healthy lifestyle modifications. You achieve your rehab goals with the help of the interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, kinesiologists, dietitians and pharmacists.

The program is geared to patients with the following diagnoses or who have had the following procedures:

  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Chronic stable angina
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Open-heart surgery, bypass surgery or valve surgery
  • Angioplasty (PCI)
  • Heart and/or heart and lung transplant (we also accept pre-transplant patients)
  • Stable heart failure

There are both supervised and home program options available to support you. You will be provided with the tools necessary to understand and manage your risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

How to Prepare

The Education Day (Phase 1) will be an extended session from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Please bring your lunch and a snack to eat, or you can purchase food in the food court on the main level of Toronto Western Hospital.

The intake assessment (Phase 2) will be approximately 2 hours in length. You may be asked to exercise during this appointment.

Each exercise session (Phase 3) will be approximately 90 minutes long.​

Learn more about what you can expect when you have a clinic appointment.​

 Materials and Resources to Help You

​The Patient & Family Education Program at UHN offers valuable resources to help you understand your condition.​

Visit our health information section.​​​​​

 Meet Our Team

​​Patients referred to our program benefit ​​from a multidisciplinary approach to their care. All patients benefit from services, sessions and appointments targeted to their individual needs. These may include:

  • ​Education sessions
  • Nutritional assessments with our dietitian
  • A risk factor assessment with our program physician
  • A medication review with our pharmacist
  • A targeted exercise prescription with our Kinesiologists
  • Supervised and/or home-based exercise sessions

Medical Director: Dr. Caroline Chessex
Program Services Manager: Valerie Skeffington​

You will work with some or all of the following rehabilitation and clinical team members, depending on your needs:​

  • ​​Dietitian
  • Exercise leader
  • Kinesiologist
  • Lab technicians
  • Nurse
  • Pharmacist
  • Physicians
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