What We Do

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. Participation 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 helps people with heart disease improve their cardiac health and fitness. It also helps them reduce their chance of future cardiac incidents through lasting lifestyle and behaviour changes.

The Cardiac College was developed specifically to help guide patients in developing positive and healthy behaviour to live and thrive with cardiovascular disease. Patients will learn skills to:

  • Build a foundation for a safe heart
  • Develop skills to take care of your heart
  • Prepare for life after rehab

The program is designed for people with:

  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Angioplasty
  • Stable angina
  • Stable heart failure
  • Heart transplant
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Open heart surgery (including bypass and/or valve surgery)
  • Minor non-disabling stroke
  • Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs)
  • Other cardiovascular conditions (such as peripheral vascular disease)
  • High risk of heart disease because of their family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes

The Cardiovascular Rehabilitation program of education and exercise includes 1 session per week at Rumsey Centre.

Additional Support for Lifestyle Changes

One-to-one counselling sessions with a psychologist or social worker are available for patients who meet the criteria or for selected patients to help deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, anger and social and emotional issues.

One-to-one counselling with program registered dietitians, for patients who meet the criteria or for selected patients, will assist you in dealing with issues related to healthy eating for your heart.

In group education sessions, a variety of topics will be discussed including:

  • Exercise safety and guidelines for sports and leisure activities
  • Stress management
  • Medications
  • Risk factors for heart disease
  • Heart-healthy nutrition

Family members are encouraged to attend these education sessions.

Providing a Safe, Personalized Program

Participants begin the program with a cardio-pulmonary exercise assessment. This measures their cardiovascular fitness. Based on the participant's needs, goals and fitness level, the team creates a personalized program of exercise and education.

Participants attend 1 supervised exercise class a week at our Rumsey site. The classes are offered during the day and evening, Monday to Friday. Each class has a warm-up and stretching routine, walking aerobics and resistance training (hand-held weights) and an interactive educational session. We also provide peer-to-peer support.

You'll be expected to carry out your own exercise program at home 4 more times a week and to keep a weekly diary to help you with your progress.

Exercise staff work closely with participants to help them achieve their goals and progress their exercise throughout the program.

Maintaining Heart Health

Heart health is a lifelong commitment. To help graduates of our other cardiac rehab programs maintain their lifestyle changes, we offer a program called Heart Health for Life. This includes education sessions, exercise programs and volunteer peer support opportunities to help you stay connected to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

How to Prepare

Your first appointment can take up to 2 hours. Please wear or bring comfortable clothes (shorts, t-shirts, button-front blouse for women). During this visit, you will complete a 12 Lead Electrocardiogram (ECG), body composition measurement and meet with a program physician to assess your progress following your heart event. Follow-up appointments usually take about an hour to 90 minutes.

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

 Materials and Resources to Help You

Toronto Rehab is dedicated to the role of educating staff, patients and families. Whether you want to make sense of your condition or learn more about general health topics that matter to you most, our resources can help you find the information you are looking for.

Top Health Information Links

Visit our Health Information section to find dedicated resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information you're looking for.​

Resources from the Patient & Family Education Program PDF Icon

* These material(s) are also available in other languages.

​​​​​Our patients benefit from the expertise of a wide range of skilled rehabilitation professionals who work together to provide you with ​the best care possible following your heart event. Each team member contributes specialized knowledge to the care we provide.

Individuals receiving cardiac or diabetes rehabilitation will work with some or all of the following rehabilitation team members, depending on their needs:

  • ​​​Dietitians
  • Exercise rehabilitation supervisors
  • Exercise leaders
  • Lab technicians
  • Nurses or nurse practitioners
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers​​​
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