A strategic focus for the University Health Network (UHN) Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation program was the development of a comprehensive multi-modal education tool; “The Cardiac College” to support patients and families following an acute cardiovascular event. Using a backward curriculum design, five Program Learning Outcomes were developed from the initial work that reflected what patients would be able to accomplish by the end of the six month Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) Program.
UHN Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program treats over 2200 patients per year with education and exercise as its medication. Working with the multi-disciplinary team to support patients referred to the program following an acute cardiovascular event (myocardial infraction, coronary artery bypass graft, percutaneous intervention, valve repair and replacement, arrhythmia, implantable device insertion (including VADs, pacemakers and defibrillators), heart failure, heart transplant, transient ischemic attack and stroke) or chronic disease management such as diabetes or breast cancer; much of the education is delivered in group format to support the large class size. The need for a resource to support self-management and enhance long lasting behaviour change strategies was evident. The result was “The Cardiac College” beginning with the development of “An educational curriculum for patients and families Living and Thriving with Cardiovascular Disease”.
The five Program Learning Outcomes included:
• Taking charge of your medical condition
• Developing Strategies to improve your risk factors for cardiovascular disease
• Maintaining an exercise program to improve your health and well-being
• Incorporating healthy food choices and practices to manage your health and well being
• Developing strategies to manage your psychosocial risks for cardiovascular disease.
Educational content was developed to reflect these overarching Program Learning Outcomes. Commitment towards knowledge uptake and behaviour change was addressed; the curriculum included learning activities to help solidify patient knowledge and assess patient’s motivation and confidence to incorporate long lasting lifestyle change through action planning. Supporting the educational curriculum was the concurrent development of the online component www.cardiaccollege.ca
The concepts, messaging and supporting curriculum were developed to support adaptation by other cardiovascular rehabilitation programs. The next phase of this leading practice is the translation of the workbook into other languages.